Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at Security Council Briefing on Yemen
28 July 2020
I thank Special Envoy Mr. Griffiths, USG Mr. Lowcock and civil society representatives for their briefings. China commends UN efforts to achieve ceasefire, promote peace process, and improve the humanitarian situation in Yemen.
On March 12, as President of the Council for the month, I chaired the last meeting held in the Council Chamber. It was also briefing and consultations on Yemen. Today, Council members have overcome difficulties and returned to the UN headquarters for this in-person meeting again on Yemen. This fully demonstrates that the Council and its members attache great importance to the Yemeni issue. I thank the Secretariat staff for their efforts in this respect.
The current situation in Yemen is not optimistic as the country is struggling with war, risk of famine and disasters. The Yemeni people are living in dire conditions. The international community must step up efforts to push for an early breakthrough in the political settlement of the Yemeni issue. China supports the pursuit for a solution to the Yemeni issue through nationwide ceasefire, economic and humanitarian measures and comprehensive political negotiations. Meanwhile, the sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity of Yemen must be fully respected and upheld. I would like to stress the following three points:
First, all parties to the conflict should cease military actions immediately and improve security situation on the ground. From April to May this year, a general ceasefire was achieved in northern Yemen. This shows that as long as there is political will, it is not impossible to stop the violence. However, the recent increased hostilities have again destabilized the security situation in the northern and southern parts of Yemen. China is deeply concerned. Military means cannot solve any problem, and will only prolong the war and the suffering of the people. China urges all parties concerned to take the future of the country and the interests of the people into consideration, actively respond to the appeals of the Secretary-General and his special envoy, and immediately cease all hostilities.
Second, we must remain committed to political settlement, and continue efforts on mediation and negotiation. Since March this year, Special Envoy Griffiths has been working hard to broker a new peace initiative, but due to various factors, progress has not been satisfactory. Regarding the issue in the south, the relevant parties once reached political and military arrangements for the implementation of Riyadh Agreement under the auspices of Saudi Arabia, but the implementation has been limited. Over the past few days, we witnessed some positive development from parties concerned, and we hope it can be translated into actual results. China calls on all parties to strengthen cooperation with the Special Envoy and engage in in-depth consultations on the peace initiative, build consensus and narrow down differences, so as to safeguard the future of the peace initiative. At the same time, it is necessary to fully mobilize the regional countries, and encourage them to play an active role in synergy with the mediation efforts of the UN.
Third, the humanitarian situation in Yemen should be improved, and humanitarian access guaranteed. The Yemeni people are facing multiple threats such as violent conflict, economic crisis, flood, locusts plagues and the COVID-19 pandemic. It is urgent to remove barriers to humanitarian access and expand the scale of humanitarian operations. The international community should encourage concerted actions by all parties in Yemen to assist the UN and relevant agencies in carrying out humanitarian relief operations so as to ease the suffering of the Yemeni people. Special attention should also be given to the difficulties and needs of women, children, persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups. The UN should also urge parties that have actual control in various regions to take effective measures to prevent and control the pandemic. On July 15, China provided Yemen with another batch of supplies to fight the pandemic. We will continue to support and assist the Yemeni government and people, and we call on donor countries to fulfill their pledges as soon as possible.
The international community must give special attention to the SAFER oil tanker issue. We encourage necessary dialogue to be held to ensure that the UN technical team conduct assessment and repairs of the tanker as soon as possible. We take note that there has been no substantive progress concerning the access to the tanker so far, and the Yemeni government and the neighboring countries are seriously concerned about it. The Council should urge relevant parties to take practical actions to prevent the tanker from causing environmental, humanitarian and economic catastrophes.
Thank you, Mr. President.