|Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the UN Security Council Briefing on Yemen|
I wish to thank Special Envoy Hans Grundberg and OCHA Director Reena Ghelani for their briefings. I welcome the presence of representatives from Yemen and Saudi Arabia to today’s meeting. As the Special Envoy noted in his briefing, the situation of Yemen is very fragile. The past month witnessed a spate of armed clashes in locations such as Marib and Taiz, and oil terminals in Al-Dhabba and Qena came under attack. The spread of conflict is concerning. Military means cannot solve Yemen issue and the escalation of the conflict will only bring more suffering to the Yemeni people. We strongly condemn the attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure and call on the parties to the conflict, especially the Houthis to put the interests of the Yemeni people first, stay committed to the path of political settlement, cease all hostilities and ease the tension on the ground as soon as possible. China fully acknowledges the overall restraint shown by the Yemeni government in this process.
The six-month truce has brought significant peace dividends to the Yemeni people. Restoring the truce is not only in the common interests of the Yemeni people, but also a shared expectation of regional countries and the wider international community. Currently, the window of opportunity for peace in Yemen remains open, and rightly so. Special Envoy Grundberg has been working relentlessly to reestablish the truce. Saudi Arabia, Oman and other regional countries have also played an active and constructive role in this regard. China appreciates these efforts. We call on relevant parties, the Houthis in particular, to actively cooperate with the Special Envoy and set reasonable expectations on key issues such as the salary payment of civil servants in order to find solution at an early date, reestablish the truce as soon as possible, and reached an agreement on the launching of a more extensive political process. China supports the GCC initiative on the Yemen issue and encourages countries that have influence on the situation in Yemen to sustain their constructive assistance for the deescalation and restoration of the truce.
Yemen is facing one of the gravest humanitarian crises in the world with more than 23 million people in urgent need of humanitarian aid and an acute problem of malnutrition. At the same time, however, funding shortfalls have forced many UN humanitarian and development programs to curtail or even suspend operations in Yemen. This is truly disturbing. We call on the international community to act immediately to scale up humanitarian and development assistance to Yemen, provide adequate funding for UN operations in the country and support the efforts of the Presidential Leadership Council in improving living standards and stabilizing Yemen's economy and currency in order to ease the plight of the Yemeni people. All parties in Yemen should also provide necessary facilitation and cooperation for aid operations.
Regarding the SAFER tanker, sufficient funds have been raised for the first phase of operations to address this situation. This is encouraging news. No matter we perceive this from economic, humanitarian, security or environmental angles, it is crucial that the potential risks of the tanker be eliminated without delay. Hope that the UN will speed up the implementation of the action plan to ensure the safe transfer of crude oil as soon as possible and avoid a disaster.