On Yemen, UN Aid Chief Speaks to UNSC, Then Russia to the Press, about SC Statement
By Matthew Russell Lee for InnerCityPro.com
UNITED NATIONS, June 3 — The UN Secretariat’s bungling of Yemen mediation has become ever more clear, according to multiple sources and documents exclusively seen by InnerCityPro see below.
On June 3, the UN Security Council got a briefing about Yemen from new UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien. Aferward Russia’s Vitaly Churkin spoke off-camera at the stakeout, including about O’Brien. InnerCityPro.com has transcribed it:
CHURKIN: “Well, Mr. O’Brien is consulting very energetically with all the parties involved. Unfortunately it seems that the coalition is being carried away by the bombing too much. One of the points we were making was that paragraph 8 of resolution 2216 called on all parties to adhere to international humanitarian law, and we were wondering if these was the case, given the destruction of civilian targets in Yemen. The effect of the bombing campaign is quite dramatic. The civilian population—even the cultural, historical monuments in Yemen, and it’s already in the third month of this kind of activity. The humanitarian consequences are very high. So we called on the Secretary General and Mr. O’Brien to do everything in their power.
“Of course we called on the Special Representative of the Secretary General to try to convene the meeting as soon as possible. One of the concerns is that Ramadan is coming. We expressed the hope that it might be possible to continue those discussions in the course of Ramadan, if they convene before Ramadan then we hope it is possible to continue working until final agreement is reached between the Yemeni parties.
…”As you know, the coalition does not seem to believe that their military goals have been achieved already, and they are reluctant to agree to another humanitarian pause. But at the same time, fighting continues on the ground as well. So all parties need to show restraint and stop the violence.
“Mr O’Brien is going to work out – it’s his first appearance at the Security council, I am sure he – his account was very graphic, about the humanitarian consequences. Over 2000 people dead, a lot of destruction, the fact that it’s difficult to bring in humanitarian supplies, it’s difficult to bring in commercial supplies. Commercial supplies and the situation in Yemen, it’s also a humanitarian aspect of the whole situation, because it doesn’t include the fuel oil, and without fuel the country cannot function because of electricity and things like that. So, it’s extremely dramatic situation and a strong reason to stop fighting and start seriously to talk, without preconditions, as the statement which we adopted finally last night is pointing out.
“The humanitarian pause should come as quickly as possible. I strongly encourage Mr. O’Brien in his contacts with the Saudis particularly to call for a humanitarian pause as quickly as possible. I hope he’s going to be successful in that. First or second, we need no further delays in the convening of political discussions. I think that Mr. O’Brien has worked very effectively, so I hope the SG will make that announcement shortly. If you keep delaying the announcement there may be a situation which was there on May 28, when they realized only two days remained until the target date of May 28 and it was not possible technically to bring people in. So I hope this is not going to happen, and I hope that the announcement will be made by the Secretary General in a timely way, so that parties cannot then say they could not come because it was only a few days before the actual meeting.”
On June 2 the UN Security Council has issued a Press Statement calling for the resumption of talks — on information and belief on June 10 — in Geneva, without preconditions. Here is the Security Council Press Statement, eights minutes after it was issued:
“The members of the Security Council expressed their deep concern about the grave situation in Yemen. In this regard, the members of the Security Council were deeply disappointed that the consultations in Geneva planned for 28 May did not take place. The members of the Security Council urged Yemeni stakeholders to participate in the UN-brokered inclusive political consultations as soon as possible.
The members of the Security Council recalled Security Council resolutions 2014 (2011), 2051 (2012), 2140 (2014), 2201 (2015) and 2216 (2015), emphasizing the need for a peaceful, orderly, inclusive and Yemeni-led transition process. The members of the Security Council reiterated their demand for the full implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions, and reiterated their call from resolution 2216 (2015) on all Yemeni parties to resume and accelerate UN-brokered political inclusive consultations.
The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their call on Yemeni parties to attend these talks and engage without preconditions and in good faith, including by resolving their differences through dialogue and consultations, rejecting acts of violence to achieve political goals, and refraining from provocation and all unilateral actions to undermine the political transition. The members of the Security Council emphasized that the UN-brokered inclusive political dialogue must be a Yemeni-led process, with the intention of brokering a consensus-based political solution to Yemen’s crisis in accordance with the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative and its Implementation Mechanism, the outcomes of the comprehensive National Dialogue conference, and relevant Security Council resolutions.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their full support for the efforts of the United Nations and the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Yemen, and further reiterated their request of the Secretary-General to intensify his good offices role in order to enable a resumption of a peaceful, inclusive, orderly, and Yemeni-led political transition process that meets the legitimate demands and aspirations of the Yemeni people.
The members of the Security Council endorsed the UN Secretary General’s call for a further humanitarian pause in order to allow assistance to reach the Yemeni people urgently. The members of the Security Council urged all parties to facilitate the urgent delivery of humanitarian assistance, as well as rapid, safe, and unhindered access for humanitarian actors to reach people in need of humanitarian assistance, including medical assistance. The members of the Security Council called upon all sides to comply with international humanitarian law, including taking all feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians and civilian objects, including water systems, schools, and hospitals, and to urgently work with the United Nations and humanitarian aid organizations to get assistance to those in need. The members of the Security Council stressed the urgent need for ongoing commercial supplies to enter Yemen because of the heavy dependence of Yemen and its people on imported food and fuel.
The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their strong commitment to the unity, sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Yemen, and its commitment to stand by the people of Yemen.”