Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on Yemen

Ambassador Kelly Craft
Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 22, 2019


Thank you very much. Thank you, Special Envoy Griffiths and Assistant-Secretary-General Mueller for your briefings and for the admirable work your teams continue to do.

The United States welcomes the signing of the Riyadh Agreement between the Republic of Yemen Government and the Southern Transitional Council. Forming a new and inclusive cabinet will help create a government that is more representative of the Yemeni people. We encourage the parties to swiftly implement the terms of this Agreement. The return of the Government of Yemen to its temporary capital in Aden and the reintegration of forces in the south under government control are important steps on the path to a broader political settlement.

Saudi Arabia’s laudable work [with] the Yemeni parties has produced vital progress. With the support of the Southern Transitional Council, the Government of Yemen can now refocus its attention on dialogue with the Houthis to end this horrible conflict, which recent reports indicate has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 women, children, and men since 2015.

We welcome Special Envoy Griffiths announcement today of progress that will enable fuel ships to enter Hudaydah. We are also heartened by the recent progress of UNMHA and Lieutenant-General Guha in establishing observation posts to monitor the implementation of the Hudaydah Agreement. We call on all parties to safeguard the Mission’s personnel as they carry out their duties. However, the Hudaydah Agreement should not impede broader efforts toward a comprehensive political agreement. As the parties engage in dialogue with the aim of ending the conflict, the financial contributions of Member States will remain essential for addressing what has become the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

We are pleased to hear that contributions this fall to the UN Humanitarian Response Plan allowed several critical humanitarian programs to become fully operational again after facing closure due to funding shortfalls. We are proud of our continued role as one of the largest humanitarian contributors in Yemen, especially because the programs the United States funds through the UN and multiple NGOs have a profound impact on the lives of ordinary Yemenis.

Two examples illustrate this point. Recently, one of our implementing partners treated more than 16,000 people for communicable and non-communicable diseases. And in a second instance, this humanitarian partner improved access to safe drinking water for 24,000 people. It is these kinds of faithful efforts that provide desperately needed resources for thousands of vulnerable Yemenis. We are increasingly concerned, however, about limitations placed on humanitarian access in northern Yemen. In order to do their vital work, humanitarian organizations must be allowed to operate freely and independently in a manner that reflects principles of humanity, independence, neutrality, and impartiality.

Recent developments in Yemen are encouraging, and we hope they will lead to further de-escalation throughout the country. This will of course aid Special Envoy Griffiths and his team’s efforts to invigorate the political process. But even more importantly, it will begin to clear a path for dignity to return to the people of Yemen – a path we hope will widen in the coming weeks and months.

Thank you.