Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at Security Council Open VTC on Yemen
18 February 2021
I wish to thank Special Envoy Mr. Griffiths, USG Mr. Lowcock, and Chair of the Sanctions Committee Ambassador King for their briefings. I would like to make comments on three aspects.
First, regarding the political situation in Yemen. Since its return to Aden more than a month ago, the Yemeni Government has tried its best to govern and provide services for people’s livelihood, under very difficult circumstances. China highly appreciates its effort. We expect the new joint government to accelerate its internal integration, smoothly carry out its work and get ready for participating in the comprehensive political process. China condemns the attack on the Aden Airport on the day the cabinet of Yemeni government arrived. We support the panel of experts of the 2140 Sanctions Committee in conducting an investigation into the matter within its mandate.
The escalation of conflict in northern Yemen has caused civilian casualties and undermined mutual trust between the two sides, threatening the political mediation efforts. We urge all parties to the conflict to follow the appeal of the Secretary General for ceasefire, put down their weapons, exercise restraint and refrain from taking any actions that may increase tension, so as to create a safe environment for the peace process. China opposes any attempt targeting civilians and civilian facilities, including the attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abha International Airport.
China appreciates the recent shuttle diplomacy carried out by the Special Envoy, and hopes all parties can seize the positive momentum to meet each other halfway and create conditions to achieve lasting peace in Yemen. We welcome the move of the US to revoke its decision to designate the Houthis as a terrorist group and the appointment of its Special Envoy to promote the political process in Yemen. We hope that the US will adopt more measures conducive to the peace process in Yemen and commit itself to maintaining peace and stability in the Gulf region.
The solutions to the issues in the Gulf region require joint efforts of regional countries and the constructive role of key countries. China welcomes the Special Envoy’s recent visit to Iran and hopes that the exchanges between them will bring about positive impact on the political settlement. Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has proposed a multilateral platform for dialogue in the Gulf region. China is ready to increase consultations with countries that have similar ideas to advance the forging of new consensus on maintaining peace and stability in the region.
Secondly, regarding humanitarian situation in Yemen. The briefings we just heard once again made us feel the severity of the economic and humanitarian situation in Yemen. The Yemeni people are suffering from multiple challenges, including risk of famine, COVID-19, oil shortages, currency depreciation, etc. The international community must increase assistance to Yemen. The UN system must efficiently organize humanitarian operations. All parties to the conflict must ensure safe and unhindered humanitarian access. As the high level pledging conference will be held next month, China wishes the conference a success.
The issue of the SAFER oil tanker requires high attention. We deeply regret that up to date the UN technical team has not been able to go on site, and urge the Houthis to cooperate with the UN to implement the agreement on tanker maintenance as soon as possible, in order to prevent catastrophic accidents.
China has been providing assistance to help Yemen prevent famine and fight against COVID-19. Food assistance provided by China has reached most of the governorates in Yemen. In accordance with the economic and technological cooperation agreement signed between China and Yemen, China will provide an additional 100 million RMB worth of assistance to Yemen, as our contribution to alleviating the humanitarian crisis.
Thirdly, regarding the issue of sanctions. China appreciates the work done by Ambassador King and supports the 2140 Sanctions Committee and its panel of experts in effectively carrying out their work within the mandate authorized by the Security Council, so as to make positive contributions to the political settlement of the Yemeni issue.
Thank you, Madam President.