NEW YORK, June 15 (KUNA) -- The UN Security Council expressed on Thursday grave concern about the devastating impact of the humanitarian disaster in Yemen on civilians.
The humanitarian situation will deteriorate further in the absence of a political solution, according to a presidential statement by the Council.
The statement expressed deep concern of the 15 members of the Council about the recent outbreak of cholera, which is the latest indicator of the gravity of the humanitarian crisis.
The UNSC recalled that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Initiative and its Implementation Mechanism, the outcomes of the comprehensive National Dialogue conference, and relevant Security Council resolutions provide the basis for inclusive negotiations for a political settlement of the crisis in Yemen.
The Council expressed its continued support for the tireless efforts of the Special Envoy of the Secretary General for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, to bring the parties to negotiations with a view towards swiftly reaching a final and comprehensive agreement to end the conflict in Yemen.
The Council members called on the parties to immediately agree on the modalities for a durable Cessation of Hostilities. Furthermore, the Security Council reiterated its call to all parties to engage in peace talks in a flexible and constructive manner without preconditions, and in good faith.
The Council strongly condemned the attack on the UN Special Envoy's convoy during his recent visit to Sana'a, and called upon the Houthis and supporters of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh to undertake a full investigation to identify those responsible and hold them to account.
In the statement, the Council called upon all parties to the conflict to engage constructively with the Special Envoy's proposals for peace and ensure the unhindered access of the Special Envoy to all parts of Yemen.
The UNSC called upon all parties to "comply with international humanitarian law, including to at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants, and between civilian objects and military objectives, and by taking all feasible precautions to avoid, and in any event minimize harm to civilians and civilian objects, and to end the recruitment and use of children in violation of applicable international law, in order to prevent further suffering of civilians." Further, the members of the Council underlined the need to ensure the security of humanitarian and UN personnel and called to respect and protect medical facilities and personnel.
The Security Council also called on the parties to allow the "safe, rapid and unhindered access for humanitarian supplies and personnel to the populations of all affected governorates, and to facilitate access for essential imports of food, fuel and, medical supplies into the country and their distribution throughout." In this regard, the 15-member body stressed the importance of keeping all Yemen's ports functioning, including Hodeida port, as a critical lifeline for humanitarian support and other essential supplies, in line with the Special Envoy's latest proposals for Hodeida port and city.
Sharing the grave concern of the Secretary General about the threat of famine in Yemen, which he described as the largest food insecurity emergency in the world, the Council noted with deepest concern the additional humanitarian challenge presented by the alarming cholera outbreak in the country. Therefore, the Council members emphasized that the spread of cholera and the threat of famine reflect the gravity of Yemen's humanitarian crisis and the severe strain the conflict has placed on the country's institutions.
In light of this worsening crisis, the UNSC called on all parties to engage constructively with the Special Envoy's latest proposals for increasing commercial and humanitarian shipments through Red Sea ports including new arrangements for the management of Hodeida port and city. These proposals would act as a confidence-building mechanism between the parties, with a view to a durable cessation of hostilities as a step towards the resumption of peace talks under UN leadership.
They urged the parties to work with him in order to conclude an agreement for the resumption of government salary payments and the preservation of essential government services in all areas of the country.
With a view both to addressing the humanitarian emergency, and to building confidence between the sides in a way which will be conducive to political negotiations, the presidential statement encouraged rapid agreement on deployment of additional UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism monitors; increasing the capacity of all of Yemeni ports, including through the timely installation of cranes at Hodeida to increase the port's capacity; increased access to Sana'a Airport for lifesaving humanitarian supplies and movement of urgent humanitarian cases.
The Security Council then called for "immediate" mobilisation of the funds pledged to Yemen at the Geneva Pledging Conference of April 2017, hosted by the UN Secretary General together with the Governments of Sweden and Switzerland, and full funding of the United Nations 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen as part of a coordinated international response to the crisis.
The Security Council also expressed support for the statement made by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator on May 26, on the urgent need to provide funding to halt the spread of cholera.
On arms embargo, the Council called on all Member States to fully implement as required by the relevant Security Council resolutions, calling on the Houthis and forces allied to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh to cease all attacks at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
"The Security Council takes threats to shipping around Bab al-Mandeb, a strategically important shipping passage, extremely seriously and stresses that the continued exercise of navigational rights and freedoms in and around Bab al-Mandeb strait in accordance with relevant international law must be upheld," said the statement.
Moreover, the UNSC expressed grave concern about the presence of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen, and the impact its violent extremist ideology and actions have upon civilians and stability in Yemen and the region. The Security Council further expressed concern at the presence and future potential growth of affiliates of the so-called Islamic State IS), and reaffirmed its resolve to address all aspects of the threat posed by AQAP, IS (Da'esh), and all other associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities.
In this regard, the Security Council called upon all Yemenis to combine their efforts in countering the threat posed by terrorism.
Emphasizing that the conflict in Yemen will only be resolved through the resumption of an inclusive political process, the UNSC called upon all parties to the conflict to engage constructively and in good faith to overcome obstacles and find a peaceful solution.
It also called upon the parties to ensure at least 30 percent representation of women in peace negotiations, and called upon the UN to regularly report on consultations with women leaders and women's organizations in line with resolution 2122.
The Security Council reaffirms its strong commitment to the unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Yemen. (end)