The ceasefire in Yemen offers an opportunity that must be seized: Britain on the UN Security Council

I shall now make a statement in my capacity as representative of the United Kingdom. I would like to begin by thanking Hans Grundberg and Martin Griffiths for your briefings and congratulating you Hans on your phenomenal efforts in brokering a ceasefire. For the first time since 2016, Yemenis will feel what it is like to live in relative peace.

The UK commends all parties for making proposals and taking confidence-building measures to uphold this ceasefire. We must now move quickly to achieve the free flow of fuel, goods and flights, and we must quickly engage in political negotiations.

The UK particularly welcomes the efforts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the GCC and the Yemeni government to engage in serious consultations and meaningful policy reforms. Forming the Presidential Leadership Council is a critical step. And we commend President Hadi for facilitating the peaceful transfer of power.

We expect the President’s Executive Council to work seriously and swiftly towards political negotiations with the Houthis. And we call on the Houthis to continue working with the UN Special Envoy, and so we welcome the Special Envoy’s visit to Sana’a this week – another step forward.

Martin, as you have expressed so forcefully, as we begin to see progress at the political level, it is crucial that the international community helps to alleviate the humanitarian crisis. Unfortunately, as you said, the UN conference only raised about a third of the funds needed.

We therefore warmly welcome the US$3 billion Saudi-Emirati economic package aimed at revitalizing and supporting the Yemeni economy, as well as the US$300 million in Saudi humanitarian assistance. And it’s important that all donors disburse funds quickly if we are to prevent agencies from making further cuts to programs.

Ultimately, the ceasefire presents an opportunity to improve the lives of many Yemenis, and it must be seized. In this context, it becomes all the more urgent to defuse the ticking time bomb of the safer tanker. We therefore strongly support David Gressly’s efforts in relation to the safer tanker. The UK will provide funding and we are urging the international community, including regional partners who will be directly affected by an oil spill, to contribute as well.

I resume my role as President of the Council.

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