On Yemen, Inner City Pro Asked UN Envoy of Sana’a Parties Wanting to Meet Ban, Not Him, Full Text of His of Opening Statement Here

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 24 — The UN Secretariat’s bungling of Yemen mediation has become ever more clear, according to multiple sources and documents exclusively seen by Inner City Pro, see below.

  On June 24, Inner City Pro asked the UN’s replacement envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed about the request by the Houthis and others to meet not with him but with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who did not meet with them in Geneva. Periscope video here.  As fast transcribed by Inner City Pro:

Inner City Pro: On the parties in Sanaa requesting to meet the Secretary General – what’s your response?

Cheikh Ahmed: “This question was raised during our discussion with the Houthis, the GPC and their allies. The Secretary General had delayed twice his travel in order to be there for the parties. We have sent twice a plane from Sanaa which the delegation from Sana’a could not take..  Therefore the Secretary General had a major engagement, which was the election of the new president of the General Assembly which takes place only once a year , and he had to attend it. But the Secretary General will continue being engaged on this.”

  The ceremonial elevation of the President of the GA who will take over in September was not an election at all – no vote was taken. At the top, Cheikh Ahmed said (again, as fast transcribed by Inner City Pro)

“I just briefed the Security Council on the latest developments in Yemen, with a particular focus on the Geneva Consultation. I informed the Council that the Geneva intra-Yemeni Consultations are a milestone… Despite the raging battles and ongoing violence, and the dramatic humanitarian situation, Yemenis accepted the Secretary General’s invitation and participated in the consultations.

“The personal presence of the Secretary General was an indication of the primary importance attached by the United Nations and the international community, and in particular the Secretary General himself on the Yemeni situation. I deeply regret the deep division between the parties and the lack of compromise that prevented an agreement that was within reach. The holding of the Geneva consultation was itself a great achievement in light of the extreme violence unleashed in Yemen.

“While the government came to Geneva to seek the implementation of Security Council Resolution 2216, the government acted in a positive and constructive spirit. Both sides showed signs of constructive engagement. There is an emerging common ground upon which we can build to achieve a ceasefire coupled with a withdrawal.

“While we pursue a long term cessation of violence, I call on all relevant parties to agree without delay to the humanitarian truce, especially during Ramadan. We should not forget that Yemenis are living under dire conditions and it pains me to witness this ongoing suffering. I call on all stakeholders to spare no effort to help us achieve a temporary respite for the Yemeni people.

“I am aware that reviving the political process will not be easy. The Secretary General and I have been clear from the outset that this consultation was only a stepping stone towards the long inclusive political process. All the parties affirmed their commitment to remain engaged with the UN in search of a peaceful solution of the conflict. I have no doubt that it is possible to build upon this positive spirit in the forthcoming consultation.

“I strongly believe that the UN facilitated intra-Yemeni consultations offer the best chance for moving towards a de-escalation of the crisis and a return to the political process. I personally believe there is no military answer to this conflict. I therefore remain committed and will spare no effort to achieve a cease fire and the swift return to a peaceful, inclusive political process.”

 Before the meeting, UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft stopped and told the press of the danger of famine in the country, and of his hope for a Yemen Press Statement from the UNSC, in which the UK is the “penholder” on Yemen.  Periscope video here, replay including on desktop for 24 hours. 

Here is Inner City Pro’s fast transcript of some of what Rycroft said: “Lots of progress was made. I want to commend the work of the Special Envoy, and look forward to hearing from him later this morning. Meanwhile the humanitarian situation goes from bad to worse. We heard last week from [OCHA's] Stephen O’Brien about the looming humanitarian catastrophe, and I think there is a risk of famine. I call on all the relevant parties to ensure that essential supplies get through to the people of Yemen, who are suffering so much. In the end, there will be no military solution to this conflict. Everyone needs to come back to the negotiating table and reach a sustainable resolution.”

 Inner City Pro was digging into the letter from political parties IN Yemen, asking for a meeting with Ban Ki-moon, NOT with replacement envoy Cheikh Ahmed. These parties, including but not limited to the Houthis, were delayed in getting to Geneva so that they could not meet with Ban (who while there DID meet with a US-listed Al Qaeda terrorist).

  While some are sure to argue that Ban now meeting with the parties would undercut Cheikh Ahmed, others point out the the underlying resolution speaks of the Secretary General’s Good Offices INCLUDING his Envoy. The envoy is not the only game in town – nor, given his lack of disclosure, raised by Inner City Press, should he be. We’ll have more on this.

At 11 am it emerged that the draft press statement might be agreed to before the end of the meeting; issues were raised about including stronger language for a humanitarian pause.

  Back on June 18, replacement envoy Cheikh Ahmed held a press conference at which he claimed positive outcomes from Geneva – then admitted that nothing had been agreed to, not even another date for talks. He mentioned analogies from Uganda, and proposing civilian observers. Only in his final answer did he say something solid: aid workers cannot count on a UN Security Council resolution to protect them.

  Cheikh Ahmed said he will come to the UN in New York then engage in “shuttle diplomacy”

Not only has Abdel Wahhab al-Humayqani, listed on the US Treasury Department terrorism list, here, been included in the Hadi delegation to Geneva – he was permitted into the UN’s Palais de Nations (from which Houthis are so far banned), and met directly with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, photo here.

Leave a Reply