Executive Intelligence Review


UNSC Discusses Yemen Humanitarian Catastrophe, as UN Envoy Seeks Peace Meeting in Sweden

Nov. 17, 2018 (EIRNS)—The UN Security Council met yesterday to discuss the situation in Yemen and heard from special envoy Martin Griffiths, UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock, and David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Program. Griffiths stressed a couple of points in particular during his presentation, according to the transcript published by the UN.

He described the port of Hodeidah as the “center of gravity” of the war. The situation there is fragile and urgent action is required, he said. He plans to visit Hodeidah next week, and reopen the proposal made earlier in the year to put the port under UN supervision in order to keep it functioning.

Griffiths welcomed the recent calls by all parties expressing renewed commitment to work on a political solution.

“I welcome President Hadi’s announcement to move swiftly to a political solution, and I know from my contacts in Sana’a that Ansar Allah is also committed to this,”

he said, stating that he intends to convene a meeting in Sweden soon. “I believe we are close to resolving the preparatory issues that will allow to make this happen,” Griffiths said.

Lowcock reported that, despite calls for the violence to stop, UN sources have observed nearly 800 separate incidents of shelling, armed clashes or air strikes across Yemen, often with devastating consequences for civilians and, that due to the fighting, humanitarian programs have been scaled back in the port of Hodeidah.

Beasley, fresh from a three-day visit to Yemen this week, said that he had witnessed a country on the brink of catastrophe:

“What I have seen in Yemen this week is the stuff of nightmares, of horror, of deprivation, of misery. And we—all of humanity—have only ourselves to blame.”

To avert famine, Beasley said, the international community must combine increased humanitarian funding with “an all-out effort to restore the Yemeni economy.” He said that will require scaling up assistance to help 12 million Yemenis, which would require about $150-$160 million a month. And it would require a cash injection of $200 million a month into Yemen’s economy to stabilize its currency and stave off economic collapse: “Yemen is on the brink so together we must act,” Beasley said. Otherwise, he warned, “we will be in the position of deciding which children live and which children die.”