Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at Security Council VTC Briefing on Yemen
14 January 2021
I wish to thank Special Envoy Mr. Griffiths, USG Mr. Lowcock, and Executive Director Mr. Beasley for their briefings. I also welcome the participation by the Foreign Minister of Yemen His Excellency Mr. Ahmed Bin Mubarak in today’s meeting.
Currently, Yemen is facing multiple challenges such as violent conflict, economic crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, and food security issue. It is deeply mired in a large scale humanitarian disaster. The tumultuous situation in Yemen and the plight of its people are indeed distressing. All parties in Yemen and the international community must act immediately.
First, to achieve ceasefire and stop the violence as soon as possible. Violent conflicts are continuing in northern Yemen. The situation in Hudaydah and other places are escalating. Missile and drone attacks against Saudi Arabia are occurring from time to time. China is deeply concerned. Facts have repeatedly shown that military means cannot solve the problem, and that the use of force can only bring disaster. We call upon all parties to the conflict to heed the call by Secretary-General Guterres and Special Envoy Griffiths for ceasefire and immediately cease hostilities to create conditions for advancing the political process. The UN Mission to support the Hudaydah Agreement should continue to perform its mandate to monitor the ceasefire to ensure the operation of Hudaydah port.
China strongly condemns the attack on the Aden International Airport on December 30, and deeply mourns the lives lost. China firmly opposes any attacks on civilians and civilian facilities. We call on all parties involved in the Yemeni issue to put the interests of Yemen and its people first and refrain from taking any action that may aggravate the tension.
Second, to speed up the political process. Last month, Yemen’s new government was sworn in, which is a key progress in the implementation of the Riyadh agreement, as well as an important step towards stabilizing the situation in Yemen, improving state institutions and enhancing political cooperation among parties. China welcomes this achievement and appreciates the responsible attitudes shown by the relevant parties in Yemen and the contributions made by countries in the region, such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The UN-led comprehensive and inclusive political process is the only way to end the conflict in Yemen. We encourage all parties in Yemen to maintain dialogue, build mutual trust, and support Special Envoy Griffiths and regional countries concerned in actively carrying out good offices to push the parties to bridge their differences and build consensus, with a view to restarting the comprehensive political settlement process at an early date and restoring peace, stability and normal order in Yemen. In this process, Yemen’s sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity must be fully upheld and respected.
China has taken note of the decision announced by certain country against the Houthis. We agree with the UN Secretary-General, USG Lowcock, Executive Director Beasley of WFP and many countries in their evaluations and comments, and are seriously concerned over the possible political and humanitarian impact of this move. I want to emphasize that the Yemeni issue must be resolved through the UN-led peace negotiations. This is the primary goal for which all parties in the international community should play a constructive role.
Third, to save lives together. The people of Yemen suffer the most from the crisis there. The briefings we just heard have shown fully the severity of the economic and humanitarian situation in Yemen. Oil shortages, currency depreciation, and the spread of the pandemic have threatened all aspects of people’s lives. The latest IPC findings regarding Yemen published last month once again sounded the alarm of famine. There’s no time to lose to save lives.
The international community, especially the donor countries, must increase financial and in kind assistance to Yemen, to prevent further deterioration of the humanitarian crisis on the ground and make every effort to avoid the spread of famine. The entities of the UN system must efficiently and effectively carry out humanitarian operations, strengthen coordination with regional countries and regional organizations, and work together to help the Yemeni people tide over the difficulties. All parties to the conflict must ensure safe and unhindered humanitarian access and ensure that humanitarian supplies are delivered to the people in need, and that vulnerable groups such as women and children are effectively protected. The problem of the SAFER tanker must also be resolved as soon as possible.
For years, China has provided large amount of food aid to Yemen, covering most of its provinces. China has recently signed a bilateral agreement on economic and technical cooperation with Yemen, and will provide assistance to the value of 100 million RMB yuan through bilateral channel. We will continue to provide rice and medical supplies and other humanitarian assistance to the government and people of Yemen as our contributions to alleviating the sufferings of the Yemeni people.
Fourth, to strengthen regional security cooperation. The settlement of the Yemeni issue hinges on a good regional security environment. Recently, we’ve seen a turnaround in the relations among relevant countries of the GCC, injecting new impetus into easing the situation in the Gulf region. China welcomes this. Countries in the Gulf region should not only be beneficiaries of regional peace and security, but also be active promoters and effectively play a leading role. We call on the international community and the Gulf countries to work together to launch an inclusive dialogue process through building a multilateral dialogue platform in the Gulf region, with a view to forging consensus on regional security issues, enhancing mutual trust, resolving differences and frictions, and maintaining peace and stability in the Gulf region.
Thank you, Mr. President.