Statement by UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed

Thank you for attending this press conference.

I am trying to remain in regular contact with you in order to update you about the latest developments of the peace talks.

The peace talks are continuing, we are determined to reach an agreement and this commitment will not wane over time.

We agreed with the two delegations that the De-escalation and Coordination Committee (DCC) would investigate clashes on the ground and would provide us with detailed reports with the aim of  protecting the ongoing peace talks from daily developments on the ground. We understand the strong link between the security situation in Yemen and the political process. However, we do not want the occasional tension on the ground to obstruct the peace talks. We hope that the positive atmosphere in the talks will also be reflected in the security situation. As I have always said, the only way to resolve the conflict in Yemen is through the conclusion of a political settlement.

There were a number of breaches of the cessation of hostilities yesterday and this is worrying. We are carefully following-up on the issue with the parties with the support of the international community. We once again reiterate that those breaches must not affect the ongoing peace talks.

In order to move the talks forward, the delegates met today in three working groups. These groups began consultations on political and security issues, in addition to issues related to prisoners and detainees.

The parties reiterated their support to the DCC and the Local De-escalation Committees (LDCs) which are playing a important role in halting hostilities in their respective governorates. The UN stressed the importance of strengthening the operational role of the LDCs in the country and especially in Taiz. The success of the LDCs in Taiz would serve as model for the country and will help ensure constant and unhindered flow of humanitarian aid.

UN reports indicate that the cessation of hostilities has increased the ability of humanitarian agencies to conduct their activities and to deliver aid effectively. In the governorate of Taiz for example, drinking water was distributed and a number of health working groups were established to follow-up on medical cases and to provide medical services.

In the governorates of Hajjah and Al-Jawf, a number of emergency child protection campaigns were launched. In addition, work has started on training volunteers and specialists to provide psychological support and around nine million internally displaced persons have been provided with food aid.

There is no doubt the level of humanitarian needs far exceeds what has been provided, but it is important to recognize that more help is getting through. We hope that the humanitarian agencies will be able to make further progress in the coming days. We call on all parties to facilitate the operations of these agencies in all governorates.

We strongly believe in the importance of including Yemeni women in the peace process at this sensitive moment in Yemen’s history. We have agreed to cooperate with a number of women leaders and enlisted their support as voices of peace. Their presence reflects the opinions of Yemeni women. The participation of the Yemeni women is a vital part of advancing the peace talks.

Seven women leaders arrived in Kuwait last night.  They will meet a range of interlocuters in order to urge them to reach a comprehensive political settlement, which will return peace and security to Yemen. The women aim to deliver measured and comprehensive messages to the two delegations and the international community. The role of women in the NDC was vital; there is no doubt that their role will remain vital and their arguments central to all of our efforts and in the upcoming reconstruction phase.

The ongoing peace talks are a historic opportunity for the parties to reach a peaceful agreement. This chance might come again. All Yemenis want peace, the parties must listen to voices of Yemenis and seize this opportunity for peace.

Let me assure you that I will not spare any effort to convince the parties of the need to reach a political settlement. The position of the UN, the international community, and the entire world is united around the need to reach a negotiated settlement for the crisis in Yemen.

We are with you, we are for you, and we are beside you.

So be with us, be united, be Yemenis, talk in the name of Yemen, all of Yemen.