NEW YORK: The UN Security Council on Wednesday welcomed the peaceful transfer of power last week from Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to a newly created Presidential Leadership Council that includes a broader array of political representatives.
They applauded the intention of the PLC to form a negotiating team for UN-led talks and expressed hope that the development will enhance stability in the country and the prospects of an inclusive, Yemeni-led political peace settlement under the auspices of the UN, following a truce that was announced at the start of Ramadan.
The members of the Security Council noted the three-day visit to Sanaa by Hans Grundberg, the UN’s special envoy for Yemen, that concluded on Wednesday. It was his first since his appointment to the post in August last year.
The Security Council called on the Houthi rebels to work with the envoy and engage with his efforts to achieve a permanent ceasefire and negotiate an inclusive political settlement. It again stressed the importance of a minimum of 30 per cent participation by women as part of any agreement, in line with a resolution adopted this year.
Speaking from Sanaa at the end of his visit, Grundberg said that despite alarming reported violations of the Ramadan truce, which came into effect on April 2, “we have seen a significant overall reduction in hostilities and no confirmed reports of airstrikes or cross-border attacks.”
He added: “We have also seen badly needed fuel ships coming into the ports of Hodeidah, which I hope will contribute to resolving the fuel crisis you have been experiencing here in Sanaa. A steady flow of ships should be entering Hodeidah throughout the duration of the truce.”
Intense work and preparations continue at Sanaa airport for the first commercial flights in six years, Grundberg said, and consultations on the reopening of roads in Taiz and other governorates have also already begun. However he warned that great challenges remain.
“We are relying on the parties’ continued commitment and serious engagement in upholding the truce,” he said. “Dialogue in good faith with each other is key and the parties need to make use of the United Nations-facilitated mechanisms we provided to support them in that regard.”
Grundberg said that during his meetings with Houthi representatives he stressed the importance of capitalizing on the “unique potential” of the current truce.
“The truce offers some immediate humanitarian relief and a break from violence (and) an opening for creating a conducive environment for a political process to end the conflict, as well as for more durable measures to improve the humanitarian and economic situation and for ending the violence.”
The Security Council also welcomed the announcement by Saudi Arabia and the UAE last week of a $3 billion economic support package for Yemen, and an additional commitment by the Kingdom of $300 million for the UN’s humanitarian response in the country.
Members expressed “deep concern about Yemen’s humanitarian crisis” and encouraged donors “to fully fund the UN humanitarian response plan and support the government of Yemen’s efforts to stabilize the economy.”
They pledged their full support for the new Presidential Leadership Council in its efforts to address the urgent humanitarian and economic needs of the Yemeni people. They also commended the contributions of the Gulf Cooperation Council and its member states in supporting the cause of peace, promoting political dialogue and addressing the humanitarian crisis.