Reactions to Passage of UN Security Council Resolution on Yemen

Published: April 14, 2015

Editor’s Note:

The vote was 14 for, none opposed, one (Russian Federation) abstaining, in today’s UN Security Council Resolution passage of UNSCR 2216(2015) calling for an end to the violence in Yemen. Today we provide for your consideration two posts. This one provides the UNSC press release summarizing the resolution, the debate as well as brief citations of UNSC members’ comments on the resolution and a report from SPA on Saudi Ambassador to the UN Abdullah Yahya Almoalimi’s statement about the passage. A separate post provides the UNSCR 2216(2015) language. [Link]

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Security Council Demands End to Yemen Violence, Adopting Resolution 2216 (2015), with Russian Federation Abstaining
7426th Meeting (AM)

Also Imposes Sanctions on Key Figures in Militia Operations

Imposing sanctions on individuals it said were undermining the stability of Yemen, the Security Council today demanded that all parties in the embattled country, in particular the Houthis, immediately and unconditionally end violence and refrain from further unilateral actions that threatened the political transition.

Adopting resolution 2216 (2015) by 14 affirmative votes to none against, with one abstention (Russian Federation), the Council also demanded that the Houthis, withdraw from all areas seized during the latest conflict, relinquish arms seized from military and security institutions, cease all actions falling exclusively within the authority of the legitimate Government of Yemen and fully implement previous Council resolutions.

Acting under chapter VII of Charter, the body also called upon the Houthis to refrain from any provocations or threats to neighbouring States, release the Minister for Defence, all political prisoners and individuals under house arrest or arbitrarily detained, and end the recruitment of children.

Imposing sanctions, including a general assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo, on Abdulmalik al-Houthi, who it called the Houthi leader, and Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, son of the president who stepped down in 2011, the resolution called upon all Yemeni parties to abide by the Gulf Cooperation Council and other initiatives and to resume the United Nations-brokered political transition.

Reaffirming the need for all parties to ensure the safety of civilians, the Council called on parties to facilitate the evacuation by concerned States and international organizations of their civilians and personnel from Yemen. The resolution requested the Secretary-General to report on the implementation of the resolution within 10 days.

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Explaining his delegation’s decision to abstain, the representative of the Russian Federation said the text failed to take into account proposals his country had made, refused to call on all sides to halt fire and lacked clarity on a humanitarian pause. There were inappropriate references to sanctions, he added, stating that resolution must not result in an escalation of the crisis.

The representative of Jordan, Council President for April, said, however, that the adoption of the resolution under Chapter VII was a clear and firm signal to the Houthis and all those supporting them to comply with their obligations. Stressing the regional ramifications of the escalating conflict, she stated that the Council was prepared to consider any additional measures required.

The Council had for months demanded that the parties in Yemen proceed with the agreed upon political transition, the representative of the United States recalled. In response, however, the Houthis had intensified their military actions, threatening the country’s and region’s security. For that reason, she strongly supported the resolution, which provided a general asset freeze and travel ban on spoilers.

Also welcoming the adoption, the representative of Yemen described it as a tangible demonstration of the seriousness of the international community’s support for his people’s effort to restore peace, rule of law and democracy. He said that while the Yemeni Government and other parties were finalizing a comprehensive peace framework, opposition forces had mounted a coup d’état, threatening the social fabric and cohesion of the Yemeini people. He applauded the response of the Gulf Cooperation Council to the crisis as consistent with the imperative of preserving Yemen’s Constitution and rebuffing Iran’s designs.

While also voting in favour of the text, the representative of Venezuela expressed concern at what he called the lack of inclusion and transparency in the deliberations, maintaining that the views of non-permanent members were side-lined.

Also speaking today were the representatives of the United Kingdom, Spain, China, Malaysia, Chile, Lithuania, France, New Zealand, Chad, Nigeria and Angola.

The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. and ended at 11 a.m.

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Statements

MARK LYALL GRANT (United Kingdom), supporting Saudi-led military action at the request of Yemeni President Hadi, said that, ultimately, an inclusive political process would have to be reached. A political solution was also the best way to fight extremism and promote humanitarian relief. The resolution just adopted was aimed at ensuring that everyone engaged in the United Nations-negotiated process in good faith. It was right to increase political pressure against individuals who did not do so, he added. The security and stability of Yemen was in the interest of the world; the United Kingdom would use all tools in its disposal towards that end.

VITALY CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said his delegation had abstained because the resolution was not fully in line with what was required by the crisis in Yemen. The text failed to take into account proposals his country had made and to call on all sides to halt fire, did not provide for due reflection on consequences and lacked clarity on a humanitarian pause. There were also inappropriate references to sanctions, he added, stating that the resolution must not result in an escalation of the crisis. He stressed that there was no alternative to a political solution and action by the Council must be engendered from already-existing documents.

SAMANTHA POWER (United States) said the Council had for months demanded that the parties in Yemen proceed with the agreed-upon political transition. In response, however, the Houthis had intensified military action, threatening the country’s and the region’s security. The United States strongly supported the resolution, which provided a general asset freeze and travel ban on spoilers. The resolution also recognized the costs of the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian crisis. A consensus agreement of all political parties was the only way forward; the United Nations must continue its efforts in that light.

ROMÁN OYARZUN MARCHESI (Spain) said that the Council, through the resolution, had made its resolve clear to all parties. He underscored the need for an inclusive dialogue based on political consensus towards resolving the crisis, leading to a democratic transition led by the Yemeni people themselves. Such dialogue, he stressed, could be successful only if the armed conflict ended. While expressing strong support for the resolution, he underscored the need for the Council to ensure greater transparency and inclusiveness in its consultations.

LIU JIEYI (China) said the resolution reiterated the international community’s support for the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Yemen and it commitment to ensure that differences were resolved in a peaceful manner through dialogue. It was extremely important to restore stability in Yemen and the wider region, he added, stressing that there was no military solution. All parties must work towards achieving a prompt ceasefire and restoring stability and order through an inclusive political transition led by the Yemeni people. China hoped all parties would abide by all relevant resolutions, including those on humanitarian issues and on the evacuation and protection of diplomatic personnel and installations.

SITI HAJJAR ADNIN (Malaysia) said that the Council had been compelled to adopt another resolution on Yemen because of the deteriorating situation. She emphasized that the political transition hinged on the political will of the parties themselves. Strongly condemning spoilers of the peace process, she said their pursuit of narrow political interests had betrayed the hopes and aspirations of the Yemeni people. The blatant attack by the Houthis on the presidential palace was unacceptable and the Council had the duty and responsibility to press all parties to return to the negotiating table. Malaysia was deeply concerned at the worsening humanitarian situation and the difficulties in providing relief assistance to the most vulnerable. All parties to the conflict must protect civilians from the violence.

CRISTIÁN BARROS MELET (Chile) said that, despite different interpretations of the situation in Yemen, there was firm agreement on the disastrous effects the violence had on civilians. Expressing satisfaction at the final text that emerged from consultations on the resolution, he stressed that the humanitarian situation would not improve without a ceasefire and an inclusive political settlement. He regretted the fact that the resolution did not include references to the deadly violence committed against children and to attacks on hospitals and schools, saying they were dimensions the Council could not overlook. He called on Council members to make the negotiating process more transparent, in the effort of making resolutions more effective.

RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela) said he voted in favour of the text because the Council had the primary role vis-à-vis the crisis in Yemen. There was no alternative to a political solution; all parties must support efforts towards that end and diligently observe international human rights and humanitarian law and facilitate assistance to those in need. As the only ones who benefited from the current conflict were terrorist and extremist groups, it was essential to return to dialogue. He expressed concern at the lack of inclusion and transparency in Council deliberations, stating that non-permanent members were put on the side-lines. He urged an end to such practices.

RAIMONDA MURMOKAITĖ (Lithuania) said all parties should re-launch the transition process in Yemen, incorporating the outcomes of national dialogue conference. “The humanitarian situation is dire,” she added, pointing out that 16 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance. A solution could be found and violence was not the answer. The arms embargo against the spoilers of peace, including Houthi leaders, would send a strong signal that the use of violence in defiance of Council resolutions would not be tolerated. The Council must now ensure that sanctions were fully implemented by all. The United Nations role remained vital in a return to stability, if that was still possible.

FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France) noting that his country was a co-sponsor of today’s resolution, said that the text dealt with the root causes of tensions in Yemen, which were political. Condemning the Houthi militia, he called on it to act in line with Council resolutions, as well as other negotiations being held under the United Nations aegis. The Houthis were jeopardizing the country’s stability. “We have tirelessly indicated to spoilers the Council’s determination to bring pressure to bear upon them,” he stated. That message must now be put into practice, he maintained, adding that sanctions in this case were a means to realizing a political goal. He supported dialogue to establish a national unity Government, calling on the United Nations to help re-start inter-Yemeni dialogue, and he called for compliance with international humanitarian law, as well as unimpeded access to those in need. In addition, he supported ongoing efforts to bolster Yemen’s legitimate presidency; firmness as regards spoilers; resumption of the political transition through an inclusive agreement; and combating terrorists. He called on the Yemeni parties, regional players and influential countries to cooperate along those lines.

JIM MCLAY (New Zealand) said it was important that the Council send a clear signal on the urgent need to end hostilities in Yemen and return to the political process agreed previously by the Council. In that light, he welcomed the fact that the resolution imposed measures for non-compliance. “This time the parties must listen”, he stated. He also supported the call for resumed political dialogue, which, he noted, was in the best interests of all parties. Expressing deep concern about the humanitarian situation, he called for parties involved in military operations to comply with international humanitarian and human rights law. Absent a political solution, the humanitarian situation would continue to deteriorate, he warned. All parties should facilitate delivery of humanitarian assistance.

MAHAMAT ZENE CHERIF (Chad) said the situation in Yemen was extremely worrisome on the security and humanitarian fronts. He had voted for the resolution as it addressed the conflict’s root causes. He was hoping to see the international community pool its efforts with those of the Gulf Cooperation Council to prevent Yemen’s total collapse. He endorsed the Gulf Council’s efforts to re-establish peace in Yemen, underscoring the need for robust international mobilization to stop the conflict’s escalation and to promote United Nations-led negotiations in line resolution 2201 (2015). The Security Council must send strong and firm message to all parties, notably the Houthis, to immediately stop the violence and comply with the transition process, he stated, adding that it was unacceptable for an armed militia to use violence to jeopardize the constitutional order. All parties were obliged to comply with international humanitarian law and to not target civilian infrastructure.

KAYODE LARO (Nigeria) urged all parties in Yemen to abide by the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative and other relevant road maps to ensure that all communities could live in peace and harmony. He expressed hope that the resolution just adopted would make an important contribution in that direction.

JULIO HELDER DE MOURA LUCAS (Angola) said the resolution had been necessitated by the Houthis’ actions, which jeopardized what seemed to be a promising political transition in Yemen. Praising Jordan and the Gulf Cooperation Council for their contributions to drafting the resolution, he expressed growing concern at the number and scale of attacks by terrorists. All parties needed to resume negotiations at the earliest to reach a political solution, he stressed.

DINA KAWAR (Jordan) said the irresponsible practices of the Houthis and those who supported them had led the Council to name those who threatened peace and stability in Yemen and impose sanctions. The adoption of the resolution under Chapter VII of Charter was a clear and firm signal to them; a return to peace and stability in Yemen required unconditional implementation of the measures. Pointing to the regional ramifications of the escalating conflict, she stressed that the Council was prepared to consider any additional action that was required. She urged all parties to attend the peace conference scheduled to be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Noting that the resolution called for the evacuation of nationals from other countries and international organizations, she added that a humanitarian pause should be put in place when at an appropriate time and in consultation with the Yemeni Government.

KHALED HUSSEIN MOHAMED ALYEMANY (Yemen) said the resolution was a tangible demonstration of the seriousness of the international community in supporting the Yemini people’s effort to restore peace, rule of law and democracy. He recalled the Council’s “historic” visit to Yemen in January during which it underscored its commitment to the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative and other agreed frameworks. While the Yemeni Government and other parties were finalizing a comprehensive peace framework, however, opposition forces mounted what he called a coup d’état against the Constitution that had continued through manipulation by Iran, threatening the social fabric and cohesion of the Yemeni people. The “putschists” attempted to undermine and even attack the President, who was forced to seek refuge in a neighbouring country to preserve the unity of the country. The response of the Gulf countries was in consonance with the imperative of preserving the constitution and rebuffing Iran’s designs. Yemen, he stressed, would remain ever grateful to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. Yemenis had risen in unified defence, given the urgency of mitigating the suffering of the people.

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Almoalimi: Security Council resolution on Yemen tacit support for Saudi position by international community

Riyadh, Jumada II 25, 1436, Apr 14, 2015, SPA — Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations Ambassador Abdullah Yahya Almoalimi said that the resolution adopted by the UN Security Council today on Yemen is a tacit support by the international community for the position of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its sister countries of the coalition and for the military operation carried out by these countries in support of the Yemeni people and in response to the appeal of Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

He stated that the resolution adds to the list of sanctions two figures: Abdulmalik al-Huthi and Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh and this has important practical and symbolic importance as well.

He explained that the decision imposes a ban on the supply of arms to the Houthis and their allies of supporters of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

He pointed out that this resolution includes the essential elements in the legal and diplomatic aspect as it demands from the Houthis a number of demands including the cessation of violence, retreat from the occupation of the areas they occupied, returning the arms to the state and returning the institutions of the state to the legitimate government authority which supports the legitimate authority in Yemen.

In an interview with the Alekhbariah channel Tuesday evening, he said that the resolution also calls for the resumption of the political process, according to the initiative and request of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi who asked from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council to sponsor a dialogue in Riyadh under the supervision and umbrella of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

He considered this decision as a complete package of all elements that respond to the desire of the people of Yemen and the desire of the legitimate president of Yemen, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

On the mechanism of implementation of this resolution, he said that in the diplomatic track, the secretary general was asked to submit a report within ten days on the extent of adherence by the various parties to this resolution and the council has committed itself under this resolution to take additional measures, if necessary, according to the report of the secretary general.

He added that the resolution also committed the secretary general to intensify his efforts to help the parties to resume dialogue.

–SPA

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