Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun in Security Council Open VTC on Yemen
12 May 2021
I would like to start by sending my very best wishes to all Muslim friends, Eid Mubarak!
I thank Special Envoy Griffiths and USG Lowcock for their briefings. There is significant consensus among Council members on the issue of Yemen, which is a political enabler for the resolution of the issue.
The next stage should see us working continuously towards our common goal of improving the situation on the ground. I wish to share with you the following observations.
First, to mobilize every diplomatic effort and work strenuously towards a ceasefire. The military conflict in Marib has not only caused notable displacement of civilians with serious humanitarian consequences, but also exacerbated the confrontation between the parties, undermining the efforts towards a political settlement. There is no military solution to the conflict. China reiterates its condemnation of the attacks against civilian infrastructure in Saudi Arabia. A political solution is in the interests of all parties. China supports the recent visit by the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General to regional countries and his vigorous good offices. We welcome the commitments from Saudi and Yemeni governments to a peaceful resolution of the conflict. These efforts we hope will be accorded a bona fide due response from the relevant party.
Second, to leverage the roles of regional boundaries and push relentlessly for political talks. A political solution cannot be achieved without concrete proposals. The proposals for a nationwide ceasefire, lifting the blockade on Sana airport and Hodeidah port and relaunching political negotiations have been on the table for months. But the negotiation process has been dogged by repeated delays. We hope the Special Envoy will stay in close communication and coordination with regional countries to identify where the crux lies and encourage those countries with influence on the parties to play a greater role. His Excellency Wang Yi, China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister, put forward a five-point initiative on peace and stability in the Middle East, in support of regional countries and peoples playing a major role to find political solutions to the Yemeni and other hotspot issues. We noted that regional countries have recently expressed their commitments to advancing the peace process in Yemen, and have engaged in friendly interactions among themselves. We hope these positive signs will translate into tangible actions that can make peace talks happen through dialogue and consultation.
Third, we must increase humanitarian assistance to address the immediate needs of the Yemeni people. Today, across the country, the state of civilian production is worrying. The risk of famine is imminent. COVID-19 control is an uphill struggle and oil supply is very unstable. China calls on donor countries to disperse their pledges without delay, to keep the United Nations humanitarian relief programs going. All parties to the conflict must ensure safe and unimpeded humanitarian access, and keep the avenues open for the import of food, oil and other commodities. China commends Saudi Arabia’s decision to provide Yemen with $422 million worth of oil products. We welcome the arrival of the first shipment to the port of Aden, which will bring electricity to the public in different governorates of Yemen. Over the years, China has provided large amounts of humanitarian assistance to Yemen through bilateral and multilateral channels. From 2017 through 2020 China provided more than 11,700, metric tons of food aid to Yemen. Since early last year, we have provided PCR test kits, medical masks, PPE and other anti-COVID supplies to Yemen. China stands ready to continue playing its part in alleviating the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
Lastly, on the issue of the Safer oil tanker, China again urges the Houthis to assist the UN technical staff in boarding the ship to conduct assessment and repairs as soon as possible in order to forestall a potential economic, humanitarian and marine environmental disaster.