Speakers Urge Parties to Renew Truce, Join UN-Led Efforts for Lasting Peace
Recent attacks by the Houthi militia in two Yemeni cities risk triggering a military escalation and could further worsen a dire humanitarian situation, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen told the Security Council today as he called on the parties to exercise restraint and urgently agree to renew the nationwide truce that expired on 2 October.
Hans Grundberg said it is fortunate that there has not been a return to full-fledged war, as the absence of a major military escalation has facilitated his discussions with the parties and neighbouring countries. Emphasizing efforts to engage the parties towards renewing the truce and aiming for a more comprehensive settlement of the conflict, he underscored the urgent need for a political process under United Nations auspices.
In recent weeks, the Houthis, or Ansar Allah, have attacked oil terminals and ports in Hadramawt and Shabwa governorates to deprive the Government of its main source of revenue, namely oil exports, he pointed out. Those attacks have significant economic repercussions, undermine the welfare of all Yemenis and risk setting off a military escalation while also worsening the humanitarian situation. The parties must urgently reach an agreement to renew the truce and exercise maximum restraint, he said.
Reena Ghelani, Director of Operations and Advocacy Division, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said that although many of the expired truce’s provisions continue to hold, people need to see improvements in their everyday lives. The truce began on 2 April.
Noting that the Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen is 55 per cent funded, she said that despite all challenges aid agencies are reaching 10.5 million people every month. Pointing to localized clashes, landmines and unexploded ordnance, and hunger and acute food insecurity, among other issues, she warned that any escalation of fighting will send humanitarian efforts back to square one.
In the ensuing discussion, Council members echoed the Special Envoy’s calls for maximum restraint, warning that heightened tensions could lead to renewed hostilities. Voicing concern about Houthi attacks, they called on that group to remove impediments to humanitarian access and put the interests of the Yemeni people before their own.
The United States’ representative, while welcoming the fact that key elements of the truce are holding, expressed concern that the Houthis are taking actions that run counter to strong international support for United Nations-led peace efforts. Recent Houthi attacks on commercial vessels are increasing the suffering of the Yemeni people and threatening to plunge the country back into conflict, he said, urging the Houthis to “take another path” and choose to end eight years of war.
The United Arab Emirates’ representative said the Houthi militia’s recent attacks severely threaten international maritime navigation, global energy supplies and the Yemeni economy. He joined others in calling on the Houthis to remove all barriers impeding humanitarian access and to stop restricting the movement of humanitarian workers. The Council should take measures, such as sanctions, to deter the Houthis from continuing to threaten Yemen’s security, he said.
The Russian Federation’s representative said all parties, particularly the Houthis, must demonstrate maximum restraint and work constructively with the Special Envoy. For its part, the Council must not allow the results of the truce to be erased, he said, emphasizing the need for direct contact with the Houthis to break the current deadlock, facilitate stabilization, and pave the way for a fully-fledged political process.
Saudi Arabia’s representative said that while his country is among the largest donors supporting the Yemeni people, given the scale of assistance required, more effective ways are needed to respond to the crisis. Emphasizing the need to curb the humanitarian arm of the Houthi militia, he said the Houthis must be classified as a terrorist group. Reaffirming his country’s right to defend itself, he said it will respond firmly to threats to Gulf countries.
Yemen’s representative said the international community must recognize the Houthi militia as a terrorist organization, rather than merely condemn their terrorist attacks. While optimism prevailed among the Yemeni people after eight years of war, their hopes dissipated when the terrorist Houthi militia, supported by Iran, chose escalation and refused to renew the truce. Nonetheless, the Presidential Leadership Council remains committed to the truce and respects it today, he said.
Also speaking today were representatives of the United Kingdom, Kenya, China, Gabon, Ireland, Norway, Brazil, France, Mexico, Albania, India and Ghana.
The meeting began at 3:03 p.m. and ended at 4:47 p.m.
HANS GRUNDBERG, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, noting that seven weeks have passed since the United Nations-mediated nationwide truce in Yemen expired on 2 October, said that fortunately, there has not been a return to full-fledged war. In recent weeks, however, Ansar Allah have attacked oil terminals and ports in Hadramawt and Shabwa governorates, aiming to deprive the Government of its main source of revenue from exporting oil. Those attacks, including one on 21 November in Dhabba port in Hadramawt, have significant economic repercussions, undermine the welfare of all Yemenis and risk setting off a military escalation. Moreover, attacks on civilian infrastructure are prohibited by international humanitarian law, he emphasized.
The attacks could also risk worsening the humanitarian situation, he continued, noting that despite only a slight increase in overall violence compared to the six-month truce period, there has been a concerning uptick in incidents in Ma’rib and Taiz which involved civilian casualties. Such incidents demonstrate how fragile the situation remains and underscore once more the need for the parties to urgently reach an agreement to renew the truce, he said, calling once again on the parties to exercise maximum restraint. He added that the absence of a major military escalation thus far has facilitated his discussions with the parties and with countries in the region. It has also allowed regular flights between Amman and Sana’a and fuel deliveries to Hodeida port to be upheld. The United Nations efforts to convince the parties to renew and expand the truce continue, he said, expressing appreciation for the coordinated efforts of regional countries, including Saudi Arabia and Oman.
In light of these developments, it is vital that the ongoing discussions yield positive results as soon as possible, he said, noting that in addition to efforts to renew the truce, he is engaging the parties to begin discussing a path towards a more comprehensive settlement of the conflict. The international community — and, more importantly, the Yemeni people — expect them to demonstrate actionable commitment to a peaceful resolution of the conflict, he stressed, adding that while humanitarian and economic issues must be immediately addressed, more durable solutions require a comprehensive settlement. Many of the economic issues being discussed, such as revenue management for the payment of salaries, require cooperation between the parties in order to be sustainable. “A political process under United Nations auspices will be needed to reach such a resolution and the sooner we can start that work in earnest, the greater our chances of reversing the devastating trends of this war,” he said.
Going forward, he said that he will continue to advocate for an approach that looks beyond the immediate interests of the warring sides. For any settlement to be sustainable, it must be broad-based and include all segments of Yemeni society, including youth, civil society and women. The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November is a stark reminder — not just on that day, but every day — of the disproportionate effects of the conflict on Yemeni women and the integral role they should play in an inclusive political settlement. The Council’s support will remain vital to convince the parties to abandon short-term calculations in favour of political, economic and security cooperation towards a sustainable settlement of the conflict, he said.
REENA GHELANI, Director of Operations and Advocacy Division, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said that although many of the expired truce’s provisions continue to hold, its humanitarian dividends need more than six months to take hold. Furthermore, people need to see improvements in their everyday lives, aside from less fighting, she said, noting that people in the southern parts of the frontlines say they have yet to see a positive impact on their livelihoods and economic situations. On the security front, localized clashes continue to impact civilians in some parts of Yemen. In the last week of October, according to verified figures, shelling and sniper fire killed two civilians and wounded eight more, many of them children, in Taiz, while earlier this month, in Ma’rib, four displaced civilians were killed and at least five more were injured when a weapons storage facility exploded due to fighting, she said.
Vulnerable groups are most impacted by these clashes, she went on, citing open-source reporting that indicated a 43 per cent surge in child casualties between September and October. Landmines and unexploded ordnance still account for the largest share of civilian casualties, she said, noting that the freer movement of civilians due to reduced fighting since April has increased their exposure to such devices, which have killed and injured more than 164 civilians, including 74 children, between July and September. Parties to the conflict must take all precautions to protect civilians from the dangers resulting from military operations, including by identifying, marking, and decontaminating dangerous areas, she said, reiterating the need for increased funding for mine action work.
She went on to say that so far this year, more than 50,000 migrants have taken the perilous sea route from the Horn of Africa to Yemen in search of a better life. Meanwhile, hunger continues to haunt more than half the population in Yemen. The estimated number of people facing acute food insecurity between October and December is slightly lower than initial projections, which is good news. But she added: “It does not eclipse the fact that 17 million people still do not know where they will get their next meal.” Against this backdrop, she welcomed the arrival of a shipment carrying 14,000 metric tons of wheat flour under the Black Sea Grain Initiative on 15 October as well as three further grain shipments that left Ukraine on 23 October, 13 and 17 November.
The humanitarian operating environment is becoming more difficult due to bureaucratic impediments, movement restrictions and unacceptable levels of interference, she continued. More than 70 per cent, or nearly 500 out of 673 reported access incidents between July and September, were due to bureaucratic impediments, mostly in Houthi-controlled areas. In recent months, restrictions imposed by the Houthi de facto authorities have especially impacted female staff and beneficiaries. Moreover, humanitarian workers are increasingly exposed to carjackings, kidnappings and other incidents. Five United Nations staff remain missing after they were abducted in February in Abyan, while two additional United Nations colleagues in Sana’a remain detained after more than a year, she said, calling for their immediate release.
Turning to the Humanitarian Response Plan, which is 55 per cent funded, she said that, despite all challenges, aid agencies are reaching 10.5 million people every month. Any escalation of fighting will have devastating consequences and will send humanitarian efforts back to square one, she said, stressing the need for the return to normalcy to enable Yemenis to rebuild their fractured lives.
JAMES KARIUKI (United Kingdom) called on the Houthis to stop attacking international shipping, which risks depriving millions of Yemenis access to basic goods, and to pursue a negotiated, Yemeni-led political settlement under United Nations auspices. Eight months of relative peace have not alleviated the impact of years of war, with 17 million people exposed to acute food insecurity, he said, underlining in this regard the importance of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which has facilitated the importation of more than 60,000 tons of wheat this month and will remain a lifeline for Yemenis going forward. He urged the international community to support demining initiatives and called for an end to Houthi-imposed Mahram restrictions, which curb the freedoms of Yemeni women. The current truce is the best opportunity for progress, and it must not be squandered, he said.
RICHARD M. MILLS JR. (United States) welcomed the fact that key elements of the truce are holding but expressed concern that the Houthis are taking actions that run counter to strong international support for United Nations-led peace efforts. Recent Houthi attacks on commercial vessels are increasing the suffering of the Yemeni people and threatening to plunge the country back into conflict. He reported that the United States Navy interdicted 170 tons of lethal materials used as missile fuel components and explosives hidden aboard a ship bound for Yemen from Iran on 16 November. The seized fuel components were enough to enable the launch of more than 12 medium-range ballistic missiles, he said, adding that a group that seeks peace does not attack seaports and oil terminals nor do they attempt to covertly import missile fuel. He urged the Houthis to “take another path” and choose to end eight years of war. He also underlined the need to continue support for the United Nations Verification and Inspection Mechanism for Yemen, which ensures that commercial goods can flow into Yemen unimpeded.
MOHAMED ISSA ABUSHAHAB (United Arab Emirates) said that, since the Council’s last session on Yemen, the Houthi militia has launched several terrorist attacks on oil facilities and oil tankers in Hadramout and Shabwah using unmanned aerial vehicles. “These attacks, which the United Arab Emirates strongly condemns, severely threaten international maritime navigation, global energy supplies, and the Yemeni economy.” In addition, the Houthis have bombed civilian targets and camps for internally displaced persons in the Ma’rib and Taiz governorates, resulting in civilian deaths and injuries, including women and children. Despite the flexibility and self-restraint demonstrated by the Presidential Leadership Council, the Houthi militia continues to cling to untenable terms in negotiations, he added, voicing support for the Special Envoy’s efforts to reach an agreement to renew and expand the truce. He reiterated his deep concern over continued violations of the arms embargo imposed by Council resolutions 2216 (2015) and 2624 (2022). Further, he called on the Houthi militia to remove all barriers impeding humanitarian access in areas under its control and to stop imposing restrictions on the movement of humanitarian workers, especially Yemeni women. The Council should take measures, such as sanctions, to deter the Houthi terrorist militia from continuing to threaten Yemen’s security, he said.
SWABRI ALI ABBAS (Kenya) condemned the Houthis’ disruptive acts, including on civilian infrastructure, which violate international humanitarian law and heighten tensions and could lead to renewed hostilities. The Houthis should realize that those who are suffering most are innocent Yemenis, the most vulnerable being women, children and people with disabilities. The interception of a Yemen-bound vessel smuggling ammonium suggests that Yemen could be a base to destabilize the region, he said, calling for an investigation. The truce was an opportunity to set aside narrow interests and engage in a Yemeni-led process, facilitated by the Special Envoy, for a sustainable, political solution. Now is not the time to escalate tensions, he said, emphasizing that another cycle of violence would lead to further civilian casualties, internal displacement and the disruption of humanitarian assistance. He urged the international community, in addition to humanitarian assistance, to consider long-term solutions, including investing in climate-resistant agriculture to improve food security. He also called for increased demining actions, equipment and victim support.
ZHANG JUN (China) called on the parties to the conflict, especially the Houthis, to put the interests of the Yemeni people first, remain committed to the path of political settlement and ease tensions on the ground as soon as possible. He acknowledged the Government’s restraint, adding that the six-month truce brought significant peace dividends to the Yemeni people. The window of opportunity for peace remains open and the relevant parties, particularly the Houthis, must cooperate with the Special Envoy and set reasonable expectations on key issues. These include paying civil servants, renewing the truce as soon as possible and agreeing on the launch of a more extensive political process. He also encouraged those with influence over the situation in Yemen to sustain constructive assistance for de-escalation and restoration of the truce. Stressing that Yemen is facing one of the world’s gravest humanitarian crises, with more than 23 million people in urgent need of assistance, he pointed out that funding shortfalls have caused many United Nations programmes to curtail or suspend their operations. The international community must therefore scale up its humanitarian and development assistance for Yemen, he said.
DMITRY A. POLYANSKIY (Russian Federation) voiced disappointment over the failure to renew the truce since its expiration two months ago. Taking note of the improved situation on the ground, with clashes turning sporadic, he underlined the need to avoid a relapse into open warfare. There is a need to stabilize the current situation, which is “neither peace nor war”, he said, adding that any provocative steps, especially military ones, are unacceptable. All parties, particularly the Houthis, must demonstrate maximum restraint and work constructively with the Special Envoy. For its part, the Council must not allow the results of the truce to be erased, he said, emphasizing the need for direct contact with the Houthis to break the current deadlock, facilitate stabilization, and pave the way for a fully-fledged political process. Any attempts to delay or obstruct humanitarian work are unacceptable, he said.
EDWIGE KOUMBY MISSAMBO (Gabon), condemning the recent drone attacks on the oil ports of Al Dhabah in Hadramaut governorate and the port of Qena in the south of the country in Shabwa, said those attacks, if not neutralized as soon as possible, could draw the country into a conflict worse than the previous one. She called on the parties to exercise maximum restraint, comply with international humanitarian law, work together with the Special Envoy and refrain from any action that could compromise efforts at peace and stabilizing the country. Underscoring the importance of re-establishing the truce, she said that truce improved people’s lives, evidenced by the reduction in the number of casualties, provision of regular fuel supplies and basic services, free movement and the resumption of commercial flights to and from Sana’a. Voicing hope that the parties put the interests of the Yemeni people before their own narrow interests, she urged that negotiations resume, with a peaceful solution of their dispute as a priority. She also urged that the parties commit, with the support of the Special Envoy, to a new multidimensional agreement, within the framework of an inclusive dialogue involving women and youth.
CÁIT MORAN (Ireland) said a truce represents the best opportunity for sustainable peace in Yemen and for regional stability. Urging all parties to refrain from reckless actions, she condemned recent attacks and emphasized that there can be no military solution to the conflict. Highlighting the crucial leadership role of Yemeni women, she said that the international community cannot sideline half of the country’s population on the road towards a negotiated and inclusive Yemeni-led settlement. Moreover, unexploded ordnance and remnants of war disproportionately affect women and children. Fully supporting the Special Envoy’s inclusive approach, she said that women’s participation is non-negotiable, nor can it be a bargaining chip. “Diverse Yemeni women must have a say in the shaping of their own futures.” The international community must also address humanitarian funding gaps during the trying winter months and not lose sight of the need for accountability, she added.
MONA JUUL (Norway) expressed concern over the recent increase in civilian casualties in Yemen, including the loss of 11 children. Parties to the conflict must do their utmost to protect civilians. Condemning recent attacks by the Houthis, she underlined the need to extend and expand the truce to make room for a political process. All efforts that can lead to progress in the United Nations-led process are welcome, she said, adding that such efforts must ensure the inclusion of women at all stages. On that point, she supported the Special Envoy’s consultations with Yemeni women from diverse backgrounds and regions, calling for their full, equal and meaningful participation. She also underscored the importance of supporting the most vulnerable in Yemen’s conflict — the children — noting that 40 per cent of Yemen’s population is under 14, and at least 8 million children need assistance. She therefore called on all parties to fully and swiftly implement action plans to end and prevent violations of humanitarian law, human-rights violations and abuses against children. Further noting that landmines have a heavy impact on civilians — particularly children — she urged the parties to fully cooperate with de-mining efforts and called on donors to scale-up their support for mine clearance and mine-risk education.
JOÃO GENÉSIO DE ALMEIDA FILHO (Brazil) noted that although the truce is no longer in place, some of its effects endure and continue to benefit all Yemenis, such as the maintenance of flights to and from Sana’a, the flow of essential shipments and the progress of the Safer salvage operation. He called on the international community to further improve and stabilize the country, voicing hope that the truce agreement will be restored at the earliest opportunity. However, in light of the lingering dire situation, he also voiced concern about the issue of landmines and unexploded remnants of war. To that, he urged relevant authorities to undertake all efforts to enable the full resumption of demining activities throughout the country, such as the import of field-clearing equipment and the facilitation of visas on behalf of specialized personnel. Brazil remains committed in its support to the activities of the United Nations Mission to Support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA) and the United Nations Verification and Inspection Mechanism, he said, noting that they have been instrumental in helping to sustain a lifeline for the Yemeni population.
NATHALIE BROADHURST ESTIVAL (France) called on all parties to show restraint, and on the Houthis to abstain from any provocation, which could again cast Yemen into a new cycle of violence. She condemned the recent terrorist attacks by the Houthis on oil terminals in Hadramaut and Shabwad, which aimed to suffocate the Yemeni Government’s economy. Although the clashes on the ground remain localized, the Security Council cannot be satisfied with this status quo, she stressed, pointing out that in Taiz in particular, the situation is untenable, and the inhabitants are living almost cut off from the outside world. It is urgent to renew the truce on the ground. To do so, trust must be re-established, she said, welcoming the steps taken by the Yemeni Government towards the Houthis and calling on the latter to show tangible signs of their will to negotiate, particularly with regard to access to Taiz. As well, United Nations and humanitarian personnel must be able to move around without fear of being targeted or arrested. The Houthis must also stop intimidating female humanitarian workers by imposing male chaperones. Full humanitarian access and better working conditions for humanitarian workers must be ensured so that they can assist all Yemenis in vulnerable situations.
ENRIQUE JAVIER OCHOA MARTÍNEZ (Mexico) reiterated his support for the Special Envoy to renew the Yemeni truce and commended the efforts of regional partners, such as Saudi Arabia and Oman. He condemned the Houthis’ incitement of violence against foreign corporations, which hinders economic recovery and freedom of navigation. Eight years of armed conflict significantly affected the Yemeni economy and left 17 million people facing acute food insecurity, as well as 4.5 million people displaced by violence. Access to the whole population is necessary, he said, voicing concern about the lack of humanitarian funding, administrative and bureaucratic obstacles, and threats against humanitarian personnel. The Special Envoy’s multitrack framework, which promotes sustainable and inclusive peace and economic recovery, is the only way to protect the population from continuous dependency on humanitarian assistance. He expressed great alarm at the number of victims as a result of mines and remains of explosives, noting that in the last six months there were 300 registered incidents. Member States must redouble efforts to address that issue. He also expressed his hope that the Safer fuel transfer commences soon to avoid an environmental, economic and humanitarian disaster.
ARIAN SPASSE (Albania) expressed support for international efforts to renew the truce as the best way to provide the Yemeni people with hope to live in peace and security. While there has been no serious deterioration of the situation on the ground since the expiration of the truce, insecurity and uncertainty have increased and the fear of further escalation prevails among the people. He called on the parties to exercise full restraint and engage constructively in talks to restore the truce and the political process. That process must be timely and inclusive, and provide for the meaningful participation of women and youth, he added. He also called on the Houthis to refrain from maximized requests and to work constructively towards peace and security, noting that recent attacks will only move Yemen further from peace and spell dire consequences for civilians. He further condemned Houthi terrorist attacks on civilian ports, urging a cessation of attacks that exacerbate the suffering of Yemen’s people. The shrinking space for humanitarian workers in the country is also concerning; all parties must guarantee such workers’ security. He added that the recent interception of a stateless vessel is another clear example of Iran’s continued obstructive activities in Yemen, underscoring that the Council must not tolerate such distractive behaviour.
RUCHIRA KAMBOJ (India) said Yemen faces a crossroads, with one path leading to the peaceful resolution of the conflict and the other leading to the resumption of active hostilities. “The choice is clearly for the parties to the conflict to make,” she stressed, urging all parties to the conflict to work towards peace, by shedding the military approach and by extending and expanding the truce into a comprehensive nationwide ceasefire. She also voiced concern about the actions of Ansar Allah, condemning their attacks on the ports and shipping vessels in Yemen and their threats to the shipping vessels travelling in and out of Yemen. Pointing out that the use of sophisticated missiles and drones in these attacks raises questions over the implementation of the targeted arms embargo established by the Security Council, she reiterated India’s call for the strict implementation of the arms embargo to effectively eliminate such threats. On the humanitarian front, she welcomed the departure for Yemen of two wheat shipments of 85,000 metric tons under the Black Sea Grain Initiative within the past month. All parties must engage constructively with the Special Envoy in renewing the truce and seeking a political solution to the conflict, she added.
CAROLYN OPPONG-NTIRI (Ghana), Council President for November, speaking in her national capacity, said regional stakeholders with influence over the parties must leverage their relationships to get the parties to end the conflict and take the path of peace. She condemned recent reports of attacks in the country, stressing that any escalation of hostilities will reverse the marginal progress made under the truce agreement and may exacerbate the humanitarian situation in the country. The parties, particularly, Ansar Allah, must refrain from actions that could derail the relative calm and tranquillity that the Yemeni people have enjoyed recently. In this regard, she welcomed the continuing engagement of the Government of Yemen with the Special Envoy in his efforts to extend the truce and urged the two parties, especially, Ansar Allah, to be flexible and to do so constructively in the spirit of compromise, towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Turning to the humanitarian front, she called for continued international support to address the wide-spread food insecurity in Yemen. Increased international support is needed to help bridge the humanitarian funding gap to make food and other essential supplies reach all those in desperate need. Voicing concern about the fate of missing and detained humanitarian workers in the country, she called for information on their whereabouts and their immediate and unconditional release.
ABDULLAH ALI FADHEL AL-SAADI (Yemen) said optimism prevailed among the Yemeni people after eight years of war, but their hopes dissipated when the terrorist Houthi militia, supported by Iran, chose escalation and refused to renew the truce. While the Houthis are undermining peace efforts, the Presidential Leadership Council remains committed to the truce and respects it today, he said, adding that the Houthis have erased all benefits acquired by the Yemeni people over the last six months and refused deadlines for peace while also attacking the nation’s economy and infrastructure. The latest example was the terrorist attack on 21 November carried out by Iranian drones on an oil tanker. Such attacks prevent exports from Yemen’s ports and aim to create a humanitarian and economic crisis nationwide. Further, the militia poses other threats to international shipping, including the arbitrary placement of mines in international shipping routes and drone attacks.
He went on to say that the Houthis limiting women’s rights, attempting to prevent them from travelling by air or between different provinces. The militia is announcing new threats every day, he said, calling on the international community and the Council to take a strong stance against escalation and terrorist acts that seek to prolong the conflict. He urged the international community to take a realistic approach to the Houthis by acting collectively to prevent terrorist attacks, rather than merely condemning such incidents. Such efforts could include recognizing the Houthi militia as a terrorist organization, given its aggressive and terrorist nature. He also called on the Council to prioritize the interests of the Yemeni people over the interests of Houthi leaders and the Iranian regime that supports them. He added that pressure must be exerted on the Houthis to stop their exploitation of the FSO Safer issue as political blackmail, he added.
ABDULAZIZ M. ALWASIL (Saudi Arabia) said that the Houthis’ rejection of a proposal to extend the truce agreement has a negative impact on Yemeni citizens and the safety of navigation in international waterways. Since the Council’s previous meeting on Yemen, the militia has resumed its terrorist activities, targeting ports and refugee camps in Ma’rib while exploiting Hudaydah and Ras Isa to smuggle prohibited materials with the support of international terrorists. He outlined other activities by the Houthis which are impeding peace, including their refusal to adhere to the provisions of the first truce agreement, their demand for salaries to be paid in United States dollars for outlawed fighters as a condition to extending the truce, as well as the blockade imposed on Taiz, which faces a dire humanitarian situation.
On the humanitarian aid front, he said that while Saudi Arabia is among the largest donors supporting the Yemeni people, given the scale of assistance required, more effective ways are needed to respond to the crisis. Emphasizing the need to curb the humanitarian arm of the Houthi militia, which is diverting assistance and worsening the crisis, he called for the promotion of independent humanitarian work, “away from interference by this inhumane body”. The Stockholm Agreement is in crisis, with the Houthi militia controlling Hudaydah port to smuggle weapons and terrorists in the absence of international inspection mechanisms, he said, adding: “Does the international community’s silence towards such violations serve the Yemeni people?” In light of the worsening humanitarian and security situation, and since peaceful choices have failed to yield tangible outcomes, the Houthis must be classified as a terrorist group, he said. He concluded by reiterating Saudi Arabia’s right to defend itself, adding that it will respond firmly to threats to Gulf countries.