Explanation of Vote Following the Adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2451 on Yemen

Rodney Hunter
Political Coordinator
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
December 21, 2018

AS DELIVERED

Thank you, Mr. President. We gather to vote on this resolution today in order to address the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Yemen, and to endorse the Stockholm agreements.

The United States remains deeply concerned about the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, and maintains the firm conviction that the best hope of resolving the conflict and addressing the humanitarian crisis is a political solution, taking the Stockholm agreements as an important first step. This resolution empowers the UN and Member States to start the vital work of implementing those agreements. We continue to call on all involved in the conflict to allow unfettered access and safe passage for humanitarian workers, and to facilitate the entry into, and movement through, Yemen, of food, fuel, medicine, and other supplies needed to save lives.

This resolution also makes a clear demand on all parties for unhindered humanitarian access, for adherence to international law, and calls for protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure. These demands are important, and we urge the parties to adhere to them. We also hope for rapid progress on stabilizing the economy and removing any bureaucratic impediments to the delivery of vital humanitarian and commercial goods.

Like the Stockholm agreements, this resolution is an important step, but only an initial one. Our overriding priority remains implementing the agreements to enforce the ceasefire and oversee redeployment of forces in Hudaydah.

We will be watching closely. Success depends on the parties living up to the obligations agreed to in Sweden.

This text places a tremendous obligation on the Government of Yemen and the Houthis to act in good faith, to engage and to compromise, and to give the Yemeni people a lasting peace.

We are grateful to Martin Griffiths and to his team, and to Sweden for doing the hard work and providing the support that resulted in this much-needed pause. We all have hard work to do in the coming weeks but and we will embark on this endeavor with a newfound determination.

The United States fully supports the Sweden outcomes and their implementation by the parties, and we look forward to the Secretary-General’s forthcoming proposals on how the United Nations will play its role to support the commitments the parties made in Sweden. We call upon all parties to prioritize the rapid, safe, and comprehensive delivery of humanitarian assistance to millions of suffering Yemenis.

But just as the parties have responsibilities, so too does this Council. When this Council speaks, we must do so clearly and credibly, accurately reflecting the facts on the ground and with the courage to address those who choose to fan the flames of conflict.

We had hoped, therefore, to include a clear condemnation of the Iranian regime for its role in prolonging this war. This Council must not allow Iran’s nefarious activities in the region to disturb this welcome, yet fragile, agreement that so many have worked so hard to achieve.

Iran violates international law with impunity, sending weapons and associated materiel to the Houthis in contravention of the arms embargo provisions set out in Security Council Resolution 2216 (2015) and in violation of Security Council resolution 2231 (2015). These weapons not only pose a grave threat to peace and security, they also pose a threat to the innocent civilians caught in the crossfire.

With a view toward seeking clear accountability, the United States has spoken out in this chamber against Iran’s malign activities. It is long past time for every other member of this Council to do the same.

And so, while we voted for the resolution put forward by our friends, the United Kingdom, we regret that it does not call Iran to account for its destructive agenda in Yemen. We hope that in the days to come Iranian missiles or misdeeds do not shatter the promise of peace and bring us back to where we were before. But if that does happen, this Council may come to regret that omission.

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