UN / YEMEN

28-Jul-2020 00:03:03
UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths said he continues to hope that the Joint Declaration negotiations will turn the tide towards peace in the country but warned of the risk that they “will slip away, and that Yemen will enter a new phase of prolonged escalation, of the uncontrolled spread of COVID-19, and of severe and threatening economic decline.” UNIFEED
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STORY: UN / YEMEN
TRT: 3:03
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ARABIC / ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 28 JULY 2020, NEW YORK CITY
SHOTLIST
FILE - NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, UN headquarters exterior

28 JULY 2020, NEW YORK CITY

2. Med shot, German ambassador presiding over Security Council
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Martin Griffiths, Special Envoy for Yemen, United Nations:
“The humanitarian consequences of the impasse grow greater by the day, and this situation cannot continue. It is essential that all obstacles to imports and the domestic distribution of fuel and other goods vital for the civilian population be removed.”
4. Wide shot, Security Council meeting in ECOSOC Chamber
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Martin Griffiths, Special Envoy for Yemen, United Nations:
“I continue to hope, I do, that the Joint Declaration negotiations will turn the tide away from these maudlin views toward peace. But I don’t want today to sugarcoat things. There is a real risk that these negotiations will slip away, and that Yemen will enter a new phase of prolonged escalation, of the uncontrolled spread of COVID-19, and of severe and threatening economic decline.”
6. Wide shot, Security Council meeting in ECOSOC Chamber
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations:
“It would then be the unhappiest of ironies if the failure of Ansar Allah to allow us to deal with the tanker were to be the cause of the loss of the ports. The consequences would be just as I warned in 2017 and 2018. I hope wiser counsels will prevail. The rhetoric on Yemen is often reassuring, and the actions relentlessly ruinous.”
8. Wide shot, Security Council meeting in ECOSOC Chamber
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations:
“Aid organizations have so far received about 18 per cent of what we need for this year’s humanitarian response plan. What had in recent years been one of the better funded humanitarian operations around the world is now one of the most underfunded.”
10. Wide shot, Security Council meeting in ECOSOC Chamber
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations:
“It is not difficult to predict the effects of less food, less water and less healthcare in Yemen. Without more funding, we should all expect large increases in hunger, malnutrition, cholera, COVID-19 – and, above all, death. We should expect many more people to die.”
12. Wide shot, Security Council meeting in ECOSOC Chamber
13. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Abdullah Ali Fadhel Al-Saadi, Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Yemen to the United Nations:
"Once again, we call on the Security Council to uphold its responsibilities to take the immediate necessary steps and put pressure on those militias to allow the UN technical team to reach the tanker, assess its condition, and empty the tanker; and to facilitate the team's mission without any delay or preconditions to avoid an economic, environmental, and humanitarian disaster which would have implications on Yemen, the region, and the world."
14. Wide shot, Security Council meeting in ECOSOC Chamber
STORYLINE
UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths said he continues to hope that the Joint Declaration negotiations will turn the tide towards peace in the country but warned of the risk that they “will slip away, and that Yemen will enter a new phase of prolonged escalation, of the uncontrolled spread of COVID-19, and of severe and threatening economic decline.”

Addressing the Security Council today (28 Jul) via teleconference, Griffiths said both parties had provided feedback on various drafts and proposals, but they have yet to reach agreement on a final text as the negotiations have been ongoing for four months. He noted the importance of the parties’ engagement in the process but stressed that the negotiations must be concluded before the window of opportunity closes.

The Special Envoy warned that the military situation has not improved over the past month. He highlighted the situation in Ma’rib, which he said undermines the prospects of a nationwide ceasefire. He said the economic indicators were all pointing in the wrong direction resulting in increased food prices and currency depreciation.

Griffiths said his Office continued to engage the Yemeni parties to find a solution to allow for the continued and regular entrance of ships carrying oil derivatives into Hudaydah port.

SOUNDBITE (English) Martin Griffiths, Special Envoy for Yemen, United Nations:
“The humanitarian consequences of the impasse grow greater by the day, and this situation cannot continue. It is essential that all obstacles to imports and the domestic distribution of fuel and other goods vital for the civilian population be removed.”

The Special Envoy also noted that, at the beginning of this month, Ansar Allah confirmed in writing that they would authorize a long-planned UN-supervised technical mission to the FSO Safer tanker. However, he added, the UN was still awaiting the permissions necessary for this team to deploy.

UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock warned that the humanitarian crisis in Yemen has never been worse. He told the Council that famine is again on the horizon, conflict is again escalating, the economy is again in tatters and humanitarian agencies are again nearly broke. Meanwhile, COVID-19 is spreading out of control. He said that there are now 43 active front lines in Yemen – compared to 33 in January and stressed that Yemenis need a nationwide ceasefire.

Lowcock said the worst was avoided in 2017-2018 when his warnings that the Coalition’s blockade was likely to plunge Yemen into famine were heeded.

SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations:
“It would then be the unhappiest of ironies if the failure of Ansar Allah to allow us to deal with the tanker were to be the cause of the loss of the ports. The consequences would be just as I warned in 2017 and 2018. I hope wiser counsels will prevail. The rhetoric on Yemen is often reassuring, and the actions relentlessly ruinous.”

The Under-Secretary-General cautioned that the aid operation in Yemen was on the verge of collapse. He said, “Aid organizations have so far received about 18 per cent of what we need for this year’s humanitarian response plan. What had in recent years been one of the better funded humanitarian operations around the world is now one of the most underfunded.”

SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations:
“It is not difficult to predict the effects of less food, less water and less healthcare in Yemen. Without more funding, we should all expect large increases in hunger, malnutrition, cholera, COVID-19 – and, above all, death. We should expect many more people to die.”

Yemeni ambassador Abdullah Al-Saadi said, two weeks after a Security Council meeting on the FSO Safer tanker, The Houthis continued to obstruct the work of the UN technical team, in full disregard for Council decisions and resolutions.

He called on the Security Council to take the “immediate necessary steps” and pressure the Houthis to “facilitate the team's mission without any delay or preconditions to avoid an economic, environmental, and humanitarian disaster which would have implications on Yemen, the region, and the world."
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