Dr Anwar Gargash calls for new progress towards political solution in Yemen

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs makes call in meeting with senior UN officials

Yemeni children help carrying coffins of schoolchildren during a funeral in the capital Sanaa on April 10, 2019. Yemeni rebels held a mass funeral today for children killed in an explosion near two schools in the capital Sanaa. The explosion in the rebel-held Yemeni capital killed 14 children and wounded 16 others on April 7, the UN said. The cause remains unknown.
 / AFP / Mohammed HUWAIS
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The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs has called for new progress towards a political solution in Yemen.

In meetings with senior UN officials, Dr Anwar Gargash renewed the Arab Coalition's firm commitment to the Stockholm agreement and the continuing peace efforts brokered by Martin Griffiths, the UN special envoy for Yemen.

Dr Gargash said that the UAE was working to support a political  solution to the conflict.

He said that while the UAE was cautiously optimistic about the Stockholm agreement, the Emirates was concerned about its implementation, particularly with the deliberate and systematic breaches of the deal by the Houthi rebels.

Dr Gargash strongly urged the international community to maintain pressure on the Houthis and their Iranian backers to end their obstruction of the political process, and to hold them responsible for their failure to fulfil their international obligations.

"The UAE, as part of the Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen, is clear in its commitment to the Stockholm agreement and in maintaining the ceasefire we agreed to in Sweden," he said.

"However, there is a clear pattern to the Houthis’ strategy in dealing with the political process.

"Since the start of the Yemen conflict, the Houthis have time and again pledged to accept international mediation and the resulting agreements, but have then failed to implement, have questioned what was agreed, and have eventually demanded new concessions.

"The Houthis have breached the Stockholm agreement and UN Security Council resolution 2451 by violating the ceasefire agreement more than 3,000 times since it was signed."

Discussing the humanitarian situation in Yemen, Dr Gargash said that Saudi Arabia and the UAE this week announced a $200 million contribution to UN agencies for humanitarian relief in Yemen during the holy month of Ramadan.

That was part of almost $20 billion in relief provided by the Coalition in recent years.

Dr Gargash said that the immediate and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance, in close co-operation with the UN and other partners, continued to be a key priority for the Coalition.

But he said that while the UAE was committed to delivering aid to all parts of Yemen, doing so to Houthi-controlled parts of the country continued to be blocked by the rebels.

In Hodeidah, the Houthis continue to loot humanitarian aid for sale on the black market, raise funds for their war effort, threaten civilian shipping lanes in the Red Sea, and smuggle Iranian-supplied weapons into the country, including ballistic missiles and sophisticated drones.

In his meetings with senior UN officials, Dr Gargash also highlighted the malign interference by Iran in Yemen.

He said Tehran had enabled the Houthis to further their military campaign, in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions.

Dr Gargash called on the UN Security Council to take firmer action to enforce international law by disrupting the flow of Iranian arms into Yemen, and to condemn Iran’s role in fuelling the conflict.

He reaffirmed the UAE's commitment to UN-led political processes in the Middle East.

"Only political solutions can ensure stability and sustainable peace," Dr Gargash said.

"To achieve this success, we have to disrupt the actions of those regional actors who undermine international efforts by supporting regional extremist and terrorist groups. We have to buttress the Arab system."

At the UN he met Antonio Guterres, Secretary General; Rosemary DiCarlo, undersecretary general for political and peace-building affairs; Mark Lowcock, undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief co-ordinator; and Christoph Heusgen, the German permanent representative to the UN and President of the UN Security Council for April.