NEW YORK, 10th April, 2019: In meetings with senior United Nations (UN) officials, Dr. Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, renewed the Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen’s firm commitment to the Stockholm Agreement and to the ongoing peace efforts brokered by Martin Griffiths, the UN Special Envoy for Yemen.
Dr. Gargash underscored that Yemen needs a political solution to resolve the conflict, and that the UAE is working to support that solution.
Dr. Gargash noted that while the UAE remains cautiously optimistic about the Stockholm Agreement, the UAE is nonetheless concerned about its implementation, and in particular the deliberate and systematic violations of the agreement by the Houthis. He strongly urged the international community to maintain pressure on the Houthis and their Iranian backers to end their obstruction of the political process, and to hold them responsible for their flagrant violations of their international obligations.
“The UAE as part of the Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen is clear in its commitment to the Stockholm Agreement and in maintaining the ceasefire we agreed to in Sweden. However, there is a clear pattern to the Houthis’ strategy in dealing with the political process,” he said. “Since the start of the Yemen conflict, the Houthis have time and again pledged to accept international mediation efforts and the resulting agreements, but have then failed to implement, have questioned what was agreed, and have eventually demanded new concessions. The Houthis have breached the Stockholm Agreement and UN Security Council resolution 2451 by violating the ceasefire agreement more than 3,000 times since it was signed.”
Discussing the humanitarian situation in Yemen, Dr. Gargash noted that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE on 8th April announced a USD 200 million contribution to UN agencies for humanitarian relief in Yemen during the Holy Month of Ramadan – part of the almost USD 20 billion in relief provided by the Coalition in recent years. Dr. Gargash emphasised that the immediate and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance, in close cooperation with the UN and other humanitarian partners, continues to be a key priority for the Coalition. He stressed, however that while the UAE is committed to delivering aid to all parts of Yemen, Coalition aid to Houthi-controlled parts of Yemen continues to be stymied by the Houthis themselves. In Hodeidah, the Houthis continue to loot humanitarian aid for sale on the black market, raise funds for their war effort, threaten civilian shipping lanes in the Red Sea, and smuggle Iranian-supplied weapons into the country – including ballistic missiles and sophisticated drones.
In his meetings with senior UN officials, Dr. Gargash also highlighted the malign interference of certain regional actors throughout the region, in particular Iran’s interference in Yemen – underlining that backing from Tehran has enabled the Houthis to further their military campaign, in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions. Dr. Gargash called on the UN Security Council to take firmer action to enforce international law, by disrupting the flow of Iranian arms into Yemen, and to condemn Iran’s role in fueling the conflict.
Furthermore, he reiterated the UAE commitment to UN-led political processes in the Middle East, stating: “Only political solutions can ensure stability and sustainable peace. To achieve this success, we have to disrupt the actions of those regional actors who undermine international efforts by supporting regional extremist and terrorist groups. We have to buttress the Arab system.”
During his visit, Dr. Gargash met with Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the UN; Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs; Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator; Nicholas Haysom; and Christoph Heusgen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Germany to the UN and President of the UN Security Council for April, as well as other senior UN officials and member state representatives.