General Assembly Security Council

UN Security Council Briefing on Middle East (Yemen)


Statement by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti

Permanent Representative of India to the UN


February 18, 2021


Thank you Madam President. I thank Special Envoy Griffiths and Under-Secretary-General Lowcock for their briefings. I also thank my dear friend Ambassador Rhonda King for her briefing as Chair of the 2140 Sanctions Committee.


2. Ten years ago, the people of Yemen poured into the streets demanding political, administrative and economic reforms in the country. This Council started discussing the situation in Yemen, and we were part of these discussions then as well, with the objective of ensuring a peaceful political transformation. The Yemeni people hoped that such a transformation would bring a positive change to their lives. It is disheartening to see that a decade later the conflict in Yemen still has no end in sight. The formidable economic, security and political challenges confronting the people of Yemen have only increased leaving them in acute need of humanitarian assistance. Today, a sizeable population of the country does not have reliable access to food. Malnourishment among children has reached high levels, which will only worsen with the forecast of famine. The underlying factors contributing to the humanitarian situation in Yemen need to be urgently addressed.


3. The most pressing issue of all is the need to end the conflict. Grave food insecurity and hunger are clustered in areas affected by the conflict. We are deeply concerned by the renewed hostilities in Marib and Al Jawf, triggered by recent military operations of Ansarallah, and continuing civilian casualties in Hudaydah. All parties should immediately eschew violence and implement the ceasefire provisions of the Hudaydah Agreement. We commend UNMHA’s efforts in engaging the parties to defuse the situation in Hudaydah governorate and call on all parties to remove restrictions on UNMHA’s movement to facilitate their patrolling. The preservation and full implementation of the Stockholm Agreement is even more critical today to ensure smooth commercial and humanitarian imports into Yemen.


4. India condemns the attack on Abha International Airport in Saudi Arabia. The targeting of the civilian airport is a violation of international law and cannot be justified for any reason whatsoever. We also condemn the  missile and drone attacks in Saudi Arabia in recent weeks, which pose a risk to the security of that country and also threaten regional stability. I reiterate India’s call for the strict implementation of the arms embargo envisaged in resolution 2216 to effectively eliminate such threats in the future.


5. We have followed closely the  recent diplomatic initiatives, including the visit of the UNSG’s Special Envoy Martin Griffiths to the region, and hope that these will contribute to reducing the tensions and kick-starting peace talks between the Yemeni parties. An early conclusion of prisoner exchange talks in Amman with a positive outcome will set the right environment for peace talks.


6. In this context, let me underline the following:


  • The hostilities must end immediately facilitating a nationwide ceasefire between the parties. As has been evident from the continuing turmoil in the country, there can be no military solution to the conflict. A peaceful political settlement through broad-based dialogue and consultations, taking into account the legitimate concerns and aspirations of all stakeholders in Yemen, is the only way forward.


  • With the formation of the new government cabinet facilitated by Saudi Arabia under the Riyadh Agreement, time is now ripe to get all Yemeni parties on-board for the commencement of a comprehensive peace process. We urge the Special Envoy to continue his commendable efforts in this regard.


  • Any peace process should be fully inclusive and led by the Yemenis with UN being a facilitating partner.  The role of women and youth should be fully factored into this process and the solution.  With commitment and resolve from all Yemeni parties, a consensus-based political solution to the country’s crisis can be achieved. The regional countries with influence on various Yemeni parties have an important role in ensuring it.


  • While the larger goal of national reconciliation and sustainable peace is under consideration, the immediate dire economic, health and humanitarian situation should be effectively addressed. Any international assistance provided to Yemeni people should be impartial, irrespective of who controls the territory they live in. This assistance should also  take into account and address the prevailing COVID-19 situation in Yemen.


  • It must also be ensured that terrorist forces do not take advantage of the continuing conflict. AQAP and IS, though weakened, still have the potential to spawn and strengthen terrorism in the country and the region. The international community must speak in one voice against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.


Madam President,


7. As I have said in the past, the cornerstone of India’s centuries-old relations with Yemen is our people to people ties. Thousands of Yemeni students continue to study in India and a large number of Yemenis travel to India for medical treatment in our hospitals every year. Our doors have always been open for the people of Yemen even during these challenging times of COVID pandemic. We also remain committed to extending humanitarian help to Yemen.


8. Before I conclude, Madam President, let me also join other colleagues in expressing my disappointment over the continued stasis on the SAFER issue. The UN team of experts must be provided immediate access to SAFER so as to avert an environmental and humanitarian disaster. I also encourage the UN not to get bogged down by technicalities and react nimbly whenever a window of opportunity opens up in future to resolve the issue. I thank you.


I thank you.