The United Nations special envoy for Yemen said on Wednesday that intense diplomatic efforts are underway to end Yemen’s eight-year war. He cited new regional and international momentum, including the recent restoration of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran, as supporting rivals in the conflict.
Hans Grundberg told the UN Security Council that there had also been “a step change in the scope and depth of discussions”, and called on Yemen’s internationally recognized government and the Houthi rebels to “seize the opportunities created by the new momentum”. urged. He appreciated the ongoing efforts by Saudi Arabia and Oman.
Grundberg signaled progress in talks on a prisoner swap between the Saudi-backed government and the Iran-backed Houthis, which are co-chaired by the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross. They have agreed for the parties to “finalize the details of the current phase, including the implementation plan.”
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UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Joyce Masuya also had some positive news: the number of hungry people in Yemen has dropped by nearly 2 million, and the number of people facing the worst level of famine has dropped to zero. Is.
Nonetheless, she said, “Yemen remains a staggering emergency” with more than 17 million people in need of aid this year, with money in short supply and economic problems “pushing even more people toward destruction.”
At a pledging conference two weeks ago, more than 30 donors pledged $1.16 billion in humanitarian aid to Yemen this year, which Massouya welcomed, but insisted it was the lowest level since 2017 and Far less than the $4.3 billion the US needs to help 17 million. People.
Yemen’s devastating conflict began in 2014, when the Houthis captured the capital of Sana’a and much of northern Yemen and forced the government-in-exile. A Saudi-led coalition including the United Arab Emirates intervened in 2015 to try to restore the internationally recognized government to power.
A UN-backed ceasefire initially took effect in April 2022 and raised hopes of a longer pause in fighting, but it expired only six months later on 2 October.
Nonetheless, Special Envoy Grundberg said the overall military situation in the country remained “relatively stable” and that other elements of the ceasefire continued to be implemented, although he expressed concern over the increase in the number and intensity of fighting in several front-lines. . Areas including Marib and Taiz.
He called these gains “fragile” and urged the government and the Houthis to “exercise maximum restraint during this critical time, including refraining from public rhetoric to avoid destabilizing the situation.”
Grundberg said he recently visited Moscow, Abu Dhabi, Paris, Tehran and Riyadh to discuss steps towards peace, including renewed talks between the warring sides.
He said the Saudi-Iran agreement, partly supported by China, and good neighborly relations “are important for the region and for Yemen.”
“The parties must seize the opportunity presented by this regional and international momentum to take decisive steps towards a more peaceful future,” Grundberg said. “It requires patience and a long-term perspective. And it requires courage and leadership.”
China’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Geng Shuang, called the re-establishment of Saudi-Iranian relations “uplifting news for today’s world which is full of uncertainties and instability.”
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“It has added a positive element to the peace, stability, solidarity and cooperation landscape of the region,” he said, expressing hope that “it may also create favorable conditions for the improvement of the situation in Yemen.”
Shuang told the council that China, together with the international community, is “willing to continue its unwavering efforts towards resolving the Yemeni issue and maintaining peace and stability in the Middle East.”
The US deputy ambassador, Jeffrey DeLaurentis, said he hoped the Saudi-Iran agreement would “contribute to efforts to secure a durable solution to the conflict in Yemen, address the continued flow of Iranian lethal aid to the Houthis, and provide for a Yemeni political Iranian support will ensure.” Process.”
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He said the United States welcomes support of UN peacekeeping efforts from Yemen’s government, Saudi Arabia, Oman and other regional countries and calls on the Houthis “to engage in dialogue in good faith and keep Yemen on the path to peace.” urges the United Nations to work with ” They said.
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