Remarks at a UN Security Council Open Debate on Yemen

Ambassador Jonathan Cohen
Acting Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
April 15, 2019


Thank you, Mr. President. Thanks to our briefers today, and especially to the UN teams on the ground in Yemen for their tireless efforts in exceptionally difficult conditions.

Since December, this Council has urged the parties to demonstrate their commitment to a political settlement by redeploying from Hudaydah, in line with the terms of the Stockholm Agreement.

While we should not minimize the importance of the Hudaydah ceasefire, which is narrowly holding, continued violence risks jeopardizing the Stockholm Agreement. But the ceasefire is not an end in and of itself. Now is the time to seize on the momentum of the ceasefire and on the agreement on the concept of operations for the phase one withdrawal. We need to move to further talks to end the conflict.

Mr. President, for over a month, the Yemeni government has worked with the UN Special Envoy to identify redeployment terms that it can accept. We thank President Hadi and the Yemeni government for their support of the Redeployment Coordination Committee. We appreciate that the Houthis have finally agreed to the phase one withdrawal concept of operations and we will be watching closely to see if they make good on that agreement.

The Yemeni government has demonstrated a clear commitment to the UN-led process. It is time for the Houthis to also show the international community they too are serious about the UN process and the agreements that they themselves reached in Stockholm.

Also for the last three months Mr. President, we have expressed our strong concerns about continued postponements of the World Food Program’s mission to rehabilitate and reopen the Red Sea Mills. But still, today, as we heard from Mark Lowcock and a number of other briefers, the mills remain closed and the food stocks within may be rotting. At this point, only the Houthis are blocking access to the mills. And they alone will be to blame if the food spoils.

Our support for Martin Griffiths and Major-General Lollesgaard remains steadfast. They, their staffs, and the international humanitarian community are doing what they can to help the parties reach a resolution to the conflict and save Yemeni lives. We applaud the Yemeni government for joining them in this effort, and we call on the Houthis to do the same without further delay.

I thank you.