UN / YEMEN

18-Feb-2021 00:03:12
“There is an important opportunity right now to help Yemen and move towards lasting peace,” the UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock told the Security Council on Thursday, adding in “firstly, the violence must stop.” UNIFEED
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STORY: UN / YEMEN
TRT: 3:13
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH /NATS

DATELINE: 18 FEBRUARY 2021, NEW YORK CITY
SHOTLIST
FILE

1. Exterior shot, UN Headquarters

18 FEBRUARY 2021, NEW YORK CITY

2. Multiscreen, virtual meeting of the Security Council
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Martin Griffiths, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen:
“Civilians bear the brunt of the hostilities, as always. Shocking violations of international humanitarian law takes place. In Hudaydah and Taiz governorates, worrying spikes of violence and hostilities continue, causing civilian deaths and injuries and damage to homes and of course I am one of those alarmed by continued cross-border attacks, which damage prospects for peace and regional stability.”
4. Multiscreen, virtual meeting of the Security Council
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Martin Griffiths, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen:
“To seize this chance to revitalize the political process, that we now hope we can... see in front of us, the parties should in my view immediately agree to a nationwide ceasefire that halts all forms of fighting, to economic and
humanitarian measures, at a minimum to include ensuring the unhindered flow of fuel and other commodities into Yemen through Hudaydah ports, with port revenues put toward civil servant salaries based on the 2014 payroll database and opening up the Sana’a airport to commercial and international traffic.”
6. Multiscreen, virtual meeting of the Security Council
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator:
“Ansar Allah authorities regularly delay routine processes. They regularly attempt to interfere with aid delivery. And they regularly harass aid agencies and staff. This is unacceptable.”
8. Multiscreen, virtual meeting of the Security Council
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator:
“Because there's so little money, many hungry families in the north, are getting only half as much food aid as they should. We have closed lots of facilities providing clean water and sanitation and health services. Many more are under threat of closure. Because, aid agencies can't afford to continue the support that keeps them running.”
10. Multiscreen, virtual meeting of the Security Council
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator:
“There is an important opportunity right now to help Yemen and move towards lasting peace. Preventing famine is essential to allow this opportunity to have a chance of being realized, but there's much more we can do.
Firstly, the violence must stop.”
12. Multiscreen, virtual meeting of the Security Council
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Richard Mills, Chargé d’Affaires of the United States of America to the United Nations:
“I want to be clear that that decision was taken because it reflects the priority we place on facilitating humanitarian asset assistance and the commercial import of critical commodities such as food and fuel in the face of this dire situation. It also reflects our emphasis on revitalizing diplomacy, again, alongside the UN and others to end the war itself. We will continue to enforce existing UN and US sanctions on certain members of Ansar Allah and we will closely monitor the group's activities to assess whether additional actions are warranted.”
14. Multiscreen, virtual meeting of the Security Council
STORYLINE
“There is an important opportunity right now to help Yemen and move towards lasting peace,” the UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock todl the Security Council on Thursday, adding in “firstly, the violence must stop.”

The monthly briefing of the Council on the situation in Yemen took place as the Houthis escalate their offensive in Marib governorate, rich in oil and gas.

Calling on the Houthis to stop the attack, Martin Griffiths, the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Yemen told the Council: “civilians bear the brunt of the hostilities, as always. Shocking violations of international humanitarian law takes place. In Hudaydah and Taiz governorates, worrying spikes of violence and hostilities continue, causing civilian deaths and injuries and damage to homes and of course I am one of those alarmed by continued cross-border attacks, which damage prospects for peace and regional stability.”

In his remarks Griffiths welcomed what he called a renewed focus of the United States on Yemen, following the February 4 announcement by the US president Joe Biden the appointment of a US special envoy for Yemen, Timothy Lenderking and the end of the US support for the Saudi Arabia-led military campaign against Houthis.

These announcements created a momentum “to revitalize the political process,” said Griffiths.

“To seize this chance,” he said, “the parties should in my view immediately agree to a nationwide ceasefire that halts all forms of fighting, to economic and humanitarian measures, at a minimum to include ensuring the unhindered flow of fuel and other commodities into Yemen through Hudaydah ports, with port revenues put toward civil servant salaries based on the 2014 payroll database and opening up the Sana’a airport to commercial and international traffic.”

On the humanitarian side, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock, said “Ansar Allah authorities regularly delay routine processes. They regularly attempt to interfere with aid delivery. And they regularly harass aid agencies and staff. This is unacceptable.”

Lowcock informed the Security Council that due to budget shortfall, “many hungry families in the north, are getting only half as much food aid as they should.”

In 2020, the humanitarian budget for Yemen was only 50 percent funded, forcing humanitarians to close “lots of facilities providing clean water and sanitation and health services,” he said. “Many more are under threat of closure. Because, aid agencies can't afford to continue the support that keeps them running.”

Recognizing the importance of the steps taken by the US for the peace process in Yemen, the Humanitarian Coordinator underlined that “preventing famine is essential to allow this opportunity to have a chance of being realized.”

The United States also decided to revoke the designation of “Foreign Terrorist Organization” given to Ansar Allah in January, recognizing the difficulties such label puts on humanitarian efforts.

“I want to be clear that that decision was taken because it reflects the priority we place on facilitating humanitarian assistance and the commercial import of critical commodities such as food and fuel in the face of this dire situation,” said Richard Mills, Chargé d’Affaires of the US to the UN. “It also reflects our emphasis on revitalizing diplomacy, again, alongside the UN and others to end the war itself. We will continue to enforce existing UN and US sanctions on certain members of Ansar Allah and we will closely monitor the group's activities to assess whether additional actions are warranted.”
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