On 15 July the Council adopted resolution 2481, renewing the mandate of UNMHA for six months until 15 January 2020. On 18 July, Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths (via video teleconference), Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock, and World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley brief the Council during its monthly session on Yemen. In closed consultations that followed General Michael Lollesgaard, briefed members via video teleconference for what was likely his final briefing before completing is term as UNMHA head and chair of the Redeployment Coordination Committee.
On 16 November, the Council held a briefing, followed by consultations, on Yemen (S/PV.8404). UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths informed the Council that he intended to convene the parties shortly for consultations in Sweden. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock provided an update on the five areas that he had asked the Council to support at a 23 October briefing, in order to avert famine. World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley’s briefing focused on his first-hand observations of the food insecurity and economic conditions that he witnessed during a recent three-day visit to Yemen. Civil society representative, Rasha Jarhum, who is the founder and Director of the Peace Track Initiative in Yemen, also briefed via video teleconference, making a number of recommendations for Council action. During the meeting the UK, as penholder on Yemen, announced that it would soon circulate a draft resolution that it had been preparing in support of Lowcock’s five asks. At press time, Council members were still negotiating the draft resolution.
On 11 October, the 2140 Yemen Sanctions Committee issued a press release that condemned attacks on commercial vessels described in the 9 July case-study of the Yemen Panel of Experts as perpetrated by the Houthis. On 23 October, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock briefed the Security Council on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen focusing on the rising threat of famine that has the potential to affect up to 14 million people, according to the latest UN estimates. Ahead of the meeting, on 20 October, OCHA had sent Council members a white paper on the worsening food crisis. During the briefing Lowcock warned of imminent danger of “a famine engulfing Yemen”. He called for Council support in five areas, including a cessation of hostilities in and around all infrastructure and facilities that the aid operation and commercial importers rely upon and for a larger and faster injection of foreign exchange into the economy.
On 11 September, the Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths briefed the Council, followed by closed consultations after which members issued press elements expressing regret that the Houthis had not attended the Geneva consultations that Griffiths had sought to organise the previous week. The press elements urged all sides to get behind the process that the Special Envoy is leading. On 21 September, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock briefed the Council on the escalation around Hodeidah and the worsening economic situation. Lowcock warned that Yemen may be “approaching a tipping point, beyond which it will be impossible to prevent massive loss of life as a result of widespread famine across the country”, and described already existing “pocket-like conditions of famine”.
On 2 August, the Council received a briefing from Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths and OCHA Director of Operations John Ging. Griffiths announced his intention to organise a first round of consultations with the warring Yemeni parties on 6 September in Geneva to discuss, among other things, the framework for negotiations and to agree on relevant confidence-building measures and specific plans for moving the process forward. Council members discussed Yemen under “any other business” on 10 August, at the request of Peru on behalf of Bolivia, Netherlands, Poland and Sweden, following an air strike on a school bus in Saada province which had killed more than 40 children the previous day. Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Tayé-Brook Zerihoun briefed. Council members subsequently issued press elements expressing their grave concern at the attack and all other recent attacks in Yemen, called for a credible and transparent investigation, and also called on all parties to engage in good faith with the UN led process, notably consultations scheduled for September in Geneva. On 10 August, the 2140 Yemen Sanctions Committee met with the Yemen Panel of Experts to consider the panel’s midterm update, which is an unpublished report on the implementation of the sanctions regime. The midterm update stated the panel’s continued belief that most of the weapons it inspected, including the debris of ballistic missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles, show characteristics similar to weapons systems known to be produced in Iran. It also reported that the panel had received information that the Houthis receive financial support from Iran through the donation of fuel. At the same time, the midterm update said that the panel believes Iran might now be willing to play a constructive role in furthering a peaceful solution for Yemen, flagging Iran’s recent efforts with several European countries to try to broker a ceasefire during Ramadan. The update affirmed, among other things, that the panel continues to obtain evidence of widespread violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law by all parties to the conflict, outlining different incidents that it was investigating. During the meeting, the Committee also considered a 9 July case study by the Panel of Experts on attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea. A press release on the Committee meeting was issued on 17 August.
On 5 July, Security Council members held consultations on Yemen, receiving briefings from UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths via video-teleconference and from OCHA Director of Operations John Ging. Discussion included an update on Griffiths’ efforts to avoid avoid a further military escalation at the port city of Hodeidah. On 9 July, the 2140 Yemen Sanctions Committee received a case study from the panel about two previous Houthi attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea: against a Saudi oil tanker on 3 April and a Turkish-flagged vessel transferring wheat on 10 May, both using anti-ship missiles. After two members requested more time during a no-objections procedure to consider the panel recommendations, it was decided that the case study and recommendations would be discussed at the committee’s upcoming 10 August meeting to consider the mid-term update, which the committee received on 27 July. Also during the month, on 25 July, the Secretary-General informed the Council of the appointment of the armed groups experts to the Yemen Panel of Experts.
The Council met on 11 June due to concerns over an impending Coalition attack on the Hodeidah. UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths briefed via VTC on efforts to negotiate a deal to forestall an offensive, while Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock briefed on the potential humanitarian consequences. Members issued a one-paragraph set of press elements, which “reiterated that only a negotiated political settlement can bring the war to an end”. On 14 June, after the start of the offensive, Griffiths briefed again in consultations via VTC. OCHA’s Ursula Mueller also briefed. Members issued press elements, expressing deep concern about the humanitarian situation and reiterated that Hodeidah and Saleef ports should remain open and called for the implementation of all Council resolutions, including resolution 2216. They urged all sides to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law. On 18 June, Giffiths and Lowcock briefed in consultations as part of the Special Envoy’s regularly scheduled update. Speaking from Sana’a, Griffths provided an update on his ongoing efforts to broker a deal to have Houthi rebels turn over Hodeidah port to UN control, indicating his belief that an agreement between the sides was possible. He also presented a framework to resume political negotiations, outlining the principles it would be based on. Council members issued press elements, noting that the Special Envoy’s efforts on Hodeidah remained ongoing and that they asked to be kept updated in real time. They further welcomed his briefing on his proposals to restart the political process.
On 17 April, the Security Council received a briefing from the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock. The meeting was Griffiths’ first briefing to the Council since becoming Special Envoy for Yemen in March. He said that he planned to put to the Council within the next two months a framework for negotiations, while raising concerns about an escalation in fighting, including over the prospect of intensive military operations against the port city of Hodeidah, which could derail political efforts. All members delivered their statements in the public chamber, and consultations that had been scheduled were not held. On 5 April, Ahmed Himmiche was reappointed the Coordinator and finance expert of the 2140 Yemen Sanctions Committee’s Panel of Experts, leaving still pending the appointment of the armed groups expert (the regional, international humanitarian law, and arms experts were appointed on 27 March). On 27 April, the Yemen Sanctions Committee met to discuss with the committee’s Panel of Experts the panel’s work plan for the coming year.
On 27 March, the Secretary-General appointed three of the five members of the Yemen Panel of Experts (the regional expert; arms expert; and international humanitarian law expert).
On 26 February, the Council adopted resolution 2402, extending the Yemen sanctions regime. At the adoption, members first voted on a draft resolution prepared by the UK, which Russia vetoed, objecting to references to the Yemen Panel of Experts’ findings that Iran was in non-compliance with the arms embargo. Eleven members voted in favour, China and Kazakhstan abstained with Bolivia also voting against (S/2018/156). Council members then unanimously approved a draft resolution Russia had presented that was based on last year’s resolution 2342, with technical amendments to extend the sanctions measures for a further year. The next day, 27 February, UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed briefed the Council. This was Ould Cheikh Ahmed’s final briefing as the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen. The Director of Operations for OCHA John Ging also briefed, as did Ambassador Gustavo Meza-Cuadra (Peru), as the chair of the 2140 Yemen Sanctions Committee. Consultations followed the public session.
On 5 December, Council members were briefed on Yemen in consultations by Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock. On 22 December, Council members condemned in a press statement the 19 December ballistic missile attack by the Huthis against Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.
On 8 November, Council members were briefed in consultations by Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock on the Saudi-led intensified coalition blockade following the Houthis firing of a ballistic missile on 4 November at Riyadh. Lowcock told Council members that unless the blockade is lifted, there would be a famine affecting millions of people, and he outlined a series of measures required to avoid such a famine. Council members issued “press elements”, which emphasised the importance of fully implementing the Council’s 15 June presidential statement, particularly keeping all of Yemen’s ports and airports functioning, including Hodeidah port. Members also condemned the attempted missile attack on Riyadh. Egypt subsequently circulated a draft presidential statement to condemn the missile attack. Bolivia, France, Italy, Sweden and Uruguay would eventually jointly break a silence procedure on the draft, believing that it did not sufficiently address the humanitarian situation. No further action was taken on the statement. On 10 November, the Yemen Panel of Experts submitted a case study to the 2140 Yemen Sanctions Committee. The confidential report concluded that the arms embargo in resolution 2216 was being used as justification to obstruct humanitarian assistance. The panel also said that it had seen no evidence to support Saudi Arabia’s claims that short-range ballistic missiles have been transferred to the Houthis. Following a visit from 17 to 21 November by the Coordinator of the Panel, Ahmed Himmiche, to Riyadh, the Panel submitted an update report to the 2140 Committee on 24 November. The update concluded that missile debris inspected from attacks against Saudi Arabia, including the 4 November missile attack, were consistent with the design, characteristics and dimensions of Iranian-designed and manufactured missiles.
On 10 October, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen Ismaïl Ould Cheikh Ahmed and OCHA Operations Director John Ging briefed the Council. During his briefing, the Special Envoy did not report any progress regarding the package of confidence-building measures that he has been pursuing, and said that “the parties have to commit to…start discussions for a comprehensive agreement”. In describing the humanitarian crisis, Ging outlined the ongoing challenges facing humanitarian and commercial access and the impact of non-payment of civil servant salaries. Closed consultations followed the public session. Council members subsequently issued elements to the press in which they deeply regretted the lack of progress in the political process and the worsening of the humanitarian situation. They reaffirmed the need for all parties, especially the Houthis, to engage meaningfully with the UN Special Envoy’s comprehensive proposals for peace and to make progress towards a ceasefire and resolution of the conflict.
On 18 August, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien briefed the Council on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. It was followed by the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy Ismael Ould Cheikh Ahmed briefing via video teleconference from Amman on his ongoing efforts to reach an agreement to avoid a possible attack on Hodeidah port and to resume salary payments of Yemeni civil servants. Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdulmalik al-Mekhlafi also participated. Consultations followed, and in press elements afterward, members stressed the importance of fully implementing the Council’s 15 June presidential statement. On 21 August, Senegal organised an Arria-formula meeting on “The Vital Role of the UN’s Humanitarian Assistance Partners in the Crisis in Yemen”. O’Brien and the Supervisor General of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, Abdallah al-Rabeeah, provided briefings. Ahead of the session, Senegal circulated a concept note.
On 12 July, the Council was briefed via video teleconference by the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, and in person by Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien. The director-generals of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and of the Food and Agricultural Organization, José Graziano da Silva also briefed by video teleconference. After further discussion in consultations, Council members issued elements to the press, which reiterated members’ support for the Council’s 15 June presidential statement and recognised the need for all parties to convert the words of the text into action.
On 15 June, the Council adopted a presidential statement on the humanitarian situation and confidence-building measures regarding Hodeidah port. The statement stressed the importance of keeping all of Yemen’s ports functioning, including Hodeidah. The Council called on the parties to engage constructively with the Special Envoy on his proposal for increasing commercial and humanitarian shipments, including new arrangements for the management of Hodeidah, while urging an agreement for resuming payments of government salaries. The Council further encouraged rapid agreement on the timely installation of cranes at Hodeidah to increase the port’s capacity, and increased access to Sana’a Airport for lifesaving humanitarian supplies and movement of urgent humanitarian cases. The presidential statement marked the first Council product on Yemen in nearly 14 months since its 25 April 2016 presidential statement.
Council members also discussed Yemen’s humanitarian crisis at a 16 June Arria-formula meeting regarding the risk of famine in the conflict-affected areas of northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.
On 30 May, the Special Envoy for the Secretary-General on Yemen, Ismael Ould Cheikh Ahmed, and the head of OCHA, Stephen O’Brien, briefed the Council. A Yemeni civil society representative, Radhya al-Mutawakel from the Mwatana Organization for Human Rights, also briefed. This was followed by closed consultations.
On 10 March, following a request by Russia, the Council was briefed by OCHA head Stephen O’Brien, who had travelled to Yemen from 26 February to 2 March. O’Brien highlighted that Yemen was the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, with 18 million people in need of assistance, and was at risk of famine, while he also addressed the humanitarian crises of South Sudan, Somalia and the Lake Chad Basin Region. The following week, 17 March, following a Russian request, members discussed in consultations under “any other business” a planned attack against the port city of Hodeidah by the Coalition and Yemeni government. Political Affairs Under-Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman provided a briefing. On 29 March, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, and Ambassador Koro Besho (Japan), Chair of the Yemen 2140 Sanctions Committee, briefed Council members in consultations. Ahead of this meeting, on 23 March, the Informal Experts Group on Women Peace and Security met on Yemen. Participants included Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, Special Envoy Ahmed, the UN’s Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick and the Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
On 18 April, the 2140 Yemen Sanctions Committee held a session on humanitarian access through Yemeni Red Sea ports, which was organised following a case study submitted by the Yemen Panel of Experts on the issue. UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen Jamie McGoldrick, Coordinator of the Panel of Experts Ahmed Himmiche and Country Director of the World Food Programme Stephen Anderson briefed, focusing on the situation of Hodeidah port and a possible coalition attack against the city. During the session, it was highlighted that no substitute exists, among the contingency plans and options being considered, that could make-up for Yemen’s needs if Hodeidah port becomes unusable. On 24 April, the Committee met with the Panel following the 13 April appointment by the Secretary-General of the Panel’s expert on armed groups. The Panel discussed with members its work plan for the coming year.
On 23 February, the Council adopted resolution 2342, extending the Yemen sanctions measures for an additional year and the Panel of Experts until 28 March 2018.
On 26 January, the Council received briefings from the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to Yemen, Ismael Ould Cheikh Ahmed, and OCHA head Stephen O’Brien (S/PV.7871). Following a statement by the Yemeni Permanent Representative Khaled Alyemany, members continued the meeting in consultations. Afterwards, Council members issued “press elements” expressing serious concern at the devastating humanitarian impact of the conflict and calling on all parties to allow unhindered access for humanitarian supplies and to facilitate access for essential imports of food, fuel, and medical supplies; calling on all parties to the conflict to renew their commitment to a cessation of hostilities; and calling on the sides to work with the Special Envoy to develop a comprehensive agreement. On 27 January, the Yemen 2140 Sanctions Committee met with the Panel of Experts to discuss its final report submitted earlier this month.
In a 4 October press statement, Council members strongly condemned an attack by Houthi forces on a UAE vessel operating near Bab al-Mandeb strait on 1 October. It further noted that members take threats to shipping around the passage extremely seriously. The US subsequently informed members of missile strikes it conducted on radar facilities following Houthi cruise missile launches at US Navy warships on 9 and 12 October around Bab al-Mandeb. Following the 8 October attacks on a funeral in Sana’a, which according to initial UN figures killed over 140 people, the UK circulated a draft press statement that would have strongly condemned the attack. Russia broke a silence procedure on the text, believing the statement was not strong enough. The UK subsequently informed members on 13 October that it would prepare a new resolution that would include a call for a cessation of hostilities but at press time it had not been circulated. On 31 October, Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed briefed the Council on his recent efforts to reach a cessation of hostilities in Yemen (S/PV.7797). In the Yemen 2140 Sanctions Committee, the Panel of Experts submitted preliminary analysis on 17 October that the 8 October attacks on the funeral in Sana’a were the result of at least two aircraft bombs, and that evidence suggested that the Saudi Arabia-led coalition violated its obligations under international humanitarian law.
Following the Council’s briefing and consultations on 31 August (S/PV.7765), Council members issued a press statement on 8 September. The press statement expressed Council members’ continued support for the work of the Special Envoy; urged the parties to resume consultations on the basis of his proposal without preconditions and in good faith; stressed that new political arrangements be the result of negotiations and not through unilateral actions by any side; and urged all parties to recommit to and respect the cessation of hostilities. It further expressed strong concern about terrorism and called upon all sides to comply with international humanitarian law and take urgent measures to improve the humanitarian situation. Negotiations on the text took more than a week, with both Egypt and Russia breaking silence procedures over differences regarding a paragraph in the statement on the cessation of hostilities.
On 3 August, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, briefed Council members in consultations on peace talks in Kuwait. Following the meeting, members were unable to agree to press elements. Three days later the talks concluded without an agreement and fighting soon intensified. On 5 August, the 2140 Yemen Sanctions Committee met with the Yemen Panel of Experts to consider the Panel’s “midterm update”, which was circulated in a report to committee members on 27 July. Of the Panel’s three recommendations, committee members subsequently approved two of them while taking note of the recommendation to issue an implementation assistance notice regarding information to include in member states’ reports of interdictions. On 25 August, following a meeting of foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the UK, the US and the Special Envoy in Jeddah, US Secretary of State John Kerry announced an agreement on a “renewed approach to negotiations” that would “simultaneously” address security and political tracks. On 31 August, the Special Envoy briefed the Council on the details of the new initiative, which was followed by consultations.
On 5 July, the UK circulated draft presidential statement on Yemen following the adjournment of UN-brokered peace talks in Kuwait, which sought to urge the parties to use the two-week period before peace talks were scheduled to resume on 15 July to further refine their positions and conduct the negotiations in a more flexible and constructive manner. Egypt and Russia both broke silence procedures, and after a final silence period was broken by Russia on 12 July, the statement was never agreed to. Peace talks resumed on 16 July in Kuwait, following a one day delay. Host government Kuwait set a 15 day timeframe for concluding the second round. Towards the end of the month, the 2140 Sanctions Committee received the mid-term report of the Yemen panel of experts, which committee members planned to consider in August.
On 6 June, following publication of the annual report on Children and Armed Conflict (S/2016/360), the Secretary-General removed the Saudi Arabia-led coalition from the listing in Annex 1 of the report, where it had been included for the first time. The removal came after strong pressure from Saudi Arabia and other member states and is considered “pending” until the conclusion of a joint review of the report’s findings with coalition members. On 21 June, Special Envoy Ismael Ould Cheikh Ahmed reported to the Council that he had presented to the parties in Kuwait a roadmap that provides for the implementation of resolution 2216 and the establishment of a national unity government, but that the sides were divided over the “sequencing” of the steps in the roadmap (S/PV.7721). Council members issued press elements urging the parties to show flexibility to secure an agreement.
On 25 May, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman briefed Council members in consultations on the Yemen peace talks in Kuwait, who then had further discussions with Special Envoy for Yemen Ismael Ould Cheikh Ahmed (via video teleconference). The day before (24 May) this meeting, the Secretary-General sent the Council a plan on how the Special Envoy’s Office could further support the parties, which the Council had requested in its 25 April 2016 statement. In the letter outlining his plan, the Secretary-General proposed significantly expanding the office in order to provide greater support to the negotiations, the De-escalation and Coordination Committee and the implementation of any agreements emerging from peace talks such as disarmament or other security sector issues. Following the briefing, in a 26 May letter to the Secretary-General, the Council took note of his proposals for the Special Envoy’s Office. OCHA head Stephen O’Brien briefed on the humanitarian situation via video teleconference in consultations on 27 May.
On 15 April, Special Envoy Ismael Ould Cheikh Ahmed, and deputy head of OCHA, Kyung-wha Kang, briefed the Council. On 25 April, the Council adopted a presidential statement to support peace talks that had started on 21 April in Kuwait. The presidential statement called for Yemeni parties to develop a roadmap for the implementation of interim security arrangements, withdrawals, handover of heavy weapons and the restoration of state institutions and resumption of political dialogue. It further requested a plan from the Secretary-General within 30 days on how the Special Envoy’s office can support the parties, in particular regarding the roadmap. Also on 25 April, the 2140 Yemen Sanctions Committee met with the new members of its Panel of Experts.
On 3 March, OCHA head Stephen O’Brien briefed the Council via video teleconference from Brussels on the humanitarian situation in Yemen. This was followed by consultations, where the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen Ismael Ould Cheikh Ahmed briefed via video teleconference from Dubai. Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Kyung-wha Kang participated in the consultations. During consultations, an issue of discussion was a potential humanitarian resolution on Yemen, elements of which members had begun discussing at the adoption of the Council March programme of work. On 23 March Ould Cheikh Ahmed announced a cessation of hostilities to start on 10 April and a new round of peace talks beginning 18 April in Kuwait. Members briefly met later that day under “any other business” where the UK shared its intention to propose a Council press statement on the announcement. A Council press statement was subsequently issued that evening, which welcomed the Special Envoy’s announcement and urged all parties to reduce violence and refrain from provocative action ahead of the cessation of hostilities.
On 16 February, OCHA head Stephen O’Brien briefed the Council on the humanitarian situation in Yemen. Following consultations, Council members issued press elements urging all parties to fulfill their obligations under international humanitarian law, and to facilitate the delivery of commercial goods, humanitarian assistance and fuel for civilian purposes to all parts of Yemen. The following day, Special Envoy Ismael Ould Cheikh Ahmed briefed the Council reporting that he had not received sufficient assurances that a new cessation of hostilities would be respected. Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa (Japan) also briefed as chair of the 2140 Yemen Sanctions Committee on the recent consideration of the final report of the Committee’s Panel of Experts. Council members issued a press statement that expressed serious concern over Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, and urged all parties to the conflict in Yemen to take urgent steps towards resuming a ceasefire. On 24 February, the Council adopted resolution 2266, renewing the Yemen sanctions measures until 26 February 2017 and the mandate of the Panel of Experts until 27 March 2017.
On 5 January, Council members were briefed on Yemen in consultations under “any other business” by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman. The briefing occurred after the Saudi-led coalition announced on 2 January that it was formally ending the cessation of hostilities. Following the meeting, Council members issued press elements, urging the sides to respect a meaningful ceasefire and to resume talks in mid-January. On 11 January, OCHA head Stephen O’Brien briefed members on the humanitarian situation, also in consultations under “any other business”. On 22 January, the Yemen 2140 Sanctions Committee met to consider the Yemen Panel of Experts final report on Yemen, which had been circulated to members earlier in the month (S/2016/73).
On 22 December, the Council received briefings from Special Envoy Ismael Ould Cheikh Ahmed, OCHA Assistant Secretary-General Kyung-wha Kang and the High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. Departing from usual practice, Council members also delivered their statements publicly, expressing strong support for the parties to engage in negotiations and a ceasefire, as well as concerns over the humanitarian crisis and violations of international humanitarian and human rights law by all sides of the conflict. The meeting occurred just two days after the conclusion of a new round of political talks from 15-20 December between the Yemen government and a joint Houthi-General People’s Congress delegation. On 23 December, Council members issued a press statement welcoming the Yemeni parties’ participation in recent peace talks (SC/12184).
On 23 October, the Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed and the chair of the 2140 Yemen Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Raimonda Murmokaité (Lithuania), briefed the Council. Ould Cheikh Ahmed reported on the recent decisions by the sides to engage in direct talks. Murmokaité reviewed the work of the 2140 Sanctions Committee since her last briefing in December 2014. Following the meeting, Council members issued a press statement welcoming the Special Envoy’s announcement of the upcoming talks and reaffirming their call for the parties to attend the talks without preconditions. On 28 October, Council members discussed humanitarian relief efforts in Yemen in an Arria-formula meeting organised by Jordan. OCHA head Stephen O’Brien and Abdullah Al-Rabiah, the chairman of the Saudi-based King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center and adviser to the Royal Court briefed. Earlier in the month, on 9 October, the 2140 Sanctions Committee met to discuss the findings of the Panel of Experts on financial sanctions and international humanitarian law issues, which were circulated in a letter to Committee members ahead of the meeting. The Committee issued a press release on 19 October on the meeting.
On 2 September, Council members discussed in consultations under “any other business” a possible Council mission to the region later this year to support diplomatic efforts on Yemen. Members issued a press statement on 4 September condemning the 2 September terrorist attacks in Sana’a and the killing that same day of two ICRC staff. On 10 September, the Council had a briefing in consultations with the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed on his mediation efforts in Oman and Riyadh and recent agreements from the sides to enter direct talks. The following day, Council members issued a press statement welcoming the Special Envoy’s announcement of the upcoming talks to be held in the region ahead of the Eid. These talks never materialised, when, two days later, the Yemen government said it would not participate. Council members condemned on 24 September the suicide bombing at a mosque in Sana’a. The 2140 Yemen Sanctions Committee held a joint meeting with the Council’s Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict on 18 September. Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict Leila Zerrougui briefed the two bodies on the impact of the Yemen conflict on children. On 22 September, the Committee and Working Group issued a joint press statement that summarised its meeting with Zerrougui. At the start of the month, On 1 September, the 2140 Committee held an open briefing for UN member states to raise awareness about the Yemen sanctions regime. The chair of the Committee, Ambassador Raimonda Murkmokaite (Lithuania), and the new Coordinator of the Panel, Ahmed Himmiche, briefed.
On 12 August, Council members were briefed in consultations by Special Envoy Ismael Ould Cheikh Ahmed, via video teleconference. Council members issued “press elements” following the meeting urging the parties to resolve their differences through dialogue since a military solution is not attainable and to cooperate with the Special Envoy. On 19 August, the Council was briefed by Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien following his 9-13 August visit to Yemen and Djibouti. The briefing was followed by consultations. The 2140 Yemen Sanctions Committee met on 17 and 25 August. On 17 August, the Committee was briefed by the Panel of Experts on its midterm report. On 25 August, the Committee was briefed by the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Yemen Crisis, Amer Daoudi, on the establishment of a verification and inspection mechanism that the UN has been negotiating between Yemen and the Saudi Arabia-led coalition to increase the flow of commercial goods, such as food and fuel, to Yemen (SC/12026).
On 10 July, Council members issued a press statement supporting the implementation of an unconditional humanitarian pause by all parties set to begin at the end of that same day. The pause, announced by the Secretary-General on 9 July, never materialised. OCHA chief Stephen O’Brien briefed the Council on 28 July on the humanitarian situation, which was followed by consultations. O’Brien updated members on efforts to alleviate the conflict’s toll on civilians, which he described as catastrophic, while highlighting that parties to the conflict were failing to meet their responsibilities under international humanitarian and human rights law.
On 2 June, Council members issued a press statement expressing disappointment that the 28 May Geneva talks were postponed. The statement urged Yemeni stakeholders to engage in talks without preconditions and in good faith, and endorsed the Secretary-General’s call for humanitarian pauses. The next day, Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed (via video teleconference) and Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien briefed Council members on Yemen under “any other business” in consultations. On 18 June, Council members issued a press statement condemning the 17 June terrorist attacks in Sana’a. On 24 June, Ould Cheikh Ahmed and OCHA Operations Director John Ging briefed Council members in consultations following the conclusion of the Geneva talks. The next day, Council members issued a press statement taking note of the ‘principles’ for advancing UN-brokered consultations, and again endorsing the Secretary-General’s call for humanitarian pauses.
On 1 May, at the request of Russia, Council members were briefed in consultations by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, and Russia presented a draft press statement on the humanitarian situation in Yemen. Council members issued a UK-drafted press statement on 12 May that incorporated elements from the Russian draft and welcomed the five-day humanitarian pause in the conflict (SC/11888). On 20 May, Council members were briefed in consultations by Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, via video teleconference, and Operations Director of OCHA John Ging. Afterwards, Council members issued elements to the press welcoming the Secretary-General’s announcement of consultations among all Yemeni stakeholders in Geneva on 28 May and calling on all Yemeni parties to attend these talks and engage without preconditions. At press time, the talks had been postponed.
On 4 April, Council members held consultations where Russia proposed a draft resolution calling for “humanitarian pauses” in the fighting to facilitate evacuations of foreign nationals and deliveries of humanitarian aid. On 14 April, the Council adopted resolution 2216, which established a targeted arms embargo on the Houthis and forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. It also imposed financial and travel ban sanctions against Houthi leader Abdulmalek al-Houthi and Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, the son of the former president.
On 15 April, the UN announced the resignation of the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Yemen, Jamal Benomar. On 25 March, the UN named Benomar’s replacement, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed of Mauritania and current head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response. On 27 April, Council members held consultations on Yemen, in which they received a final briefing from Benomar, who updated the Council on the implementation of resolution 2216.
On 3 March, Council members were briefed in consultations by Special Adviser Jamal Benomar on the implementation of resolution 2201 that deplored the Houthi’s actions to take over government institutions and urged negotiations to resolve the political impasse. On 20 March, Council members condemned attacks against Aden International Airport and airstrikes on the presidential compound in Aden in a press statement. Also on 20 March, Council members issued a press statement condemning suicide bombings at two Zaydi Shi’a mosques. In response to these events, an emergency meeting was held on 22 March. Benomar briefed from Doha by video teleconference. Yemen and Qatar, on behalf of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), also participated. The Council adopted a presidential statement the same day condemning the Houthi’s unilateral actions and reaffirming its readiness to take further measures. On 24 March, President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi sent the Council a letter asking for a Chapter VII resolution inviting all willing countries to provide support to deter the Houthi advance in the south. He also informed the Council about his request to the GCC and other Arab countries to intervene militarily against the Houthis. That same day the Qatari mission to the UN hosted an informal meeting with Council members, outlining the elements of a resolution that GCC countries were preparing, but as of the end of March no text had been circulated. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia announced that it was commencing airstrikes against Houthi targets with other Arab countries in response to Hadi’s request.
On 12 February, the Council was briefed by Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon, his Special Adviser on Yemen Jamal Benomar and Ambassador Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani (Qatar) on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The briefing was followed by consultations. Three days later, the Council adopted resolution 2201 on 15 February in response to the political crisis. The resolution strongly deplored the Houthis’s actions to dissolve parliament on 6 February and take over government institutions, urged the acceleration of negotiations to reach a consensus solution regarding the political impasse, and placed a number of demands on the Houthis. It further requested the Secretary-General to report back on implementation of the resolution while declaring the Council’s readiness to take further measures in the case on non-implementation by any Yemeni party. On 20 February, the 2140 Yemen Panel of Experts transmitted its final report to the Council. On 24 February, the Council adopted resolution 2204, renewing the assets freeze and travel ban until 26 February 2016 and extending the mandate of the Panel of Experts until 25 March 2016. In a 25 February press statement, Council members welcomed that President of Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi was no longer under house arrest and demanded that the Houthis immediately release the prime minister and members of the cabinet (SC/11798).
In response to the outbreak of fighting between the Houthis and presidential guard on 19 January, Council members held urgent consultations on 20 January with Special Adviser Jamal Benomar who briefed via video teleconference from Doha. Council members issued a press statement that condemned attack on the presidential palace and stressed that President Hadi was Yemen’s legitimate authority. On 22 January, President Hadi, the prime minister and the cabinet resigned. Council members were briefed on 26 January by Benomar under “any other business” in consultations, this time via video teleconference from Sana’a. Benomar told Council members that he was continuing to meet daily with all parties and stressed that an agreement on a way forward was possible. During the consultations, Council members were unable to agree on proposed “press elements” after Jordan, in support of the GCC position, wanted a reference to the Houthis’ role in the current crisis, which Russia objected to. Earlier in the month Council members issued a press statement on 7 January condemning a bomb attack at a police academy in Sana’a, which killed at least 37 people.
On 11 December 2014, the Council received a briefing from the chair of the 2140 Yemen Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Raimonda Murmokaité (Lithuania) (S/PV.7336). Murmokaité described the Committee’s 7 November decision to adopt targeted sanctions against former President Abdullah Ali Saleh and two Houthi military commanders. The briefing was followed by consultations with the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Yemen, Jamal Benomar. Council members issued press statements condemning the 3 December bomb attack at the residence of the Iranian Ambassador to Yemen (SC/11683) and the 16 December bomb attacks in Radaa (SC/11710).
On 8 November, the Council issued a press statement that welcomed the formation of Yemen’s new Government and urged all parties and political actors in Yemen to unite behind President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi, Prime Minister Khaled Bahah and the new cabinet to keep the country on the path to stability and security. It also recalled the decision to designate three individuals as subject to assets freeze and travel ban measures.
Council members issued a press statement on 10 October condemning a bomb attack in Sana’a that killed at least 47 people, as well as condemning attacks against Yemeni security forces on 8 and 9 October (SC/11595). On 13 October, Special Adviser Jamal Benomar briefed Council members in consultations. Afterwards, in elements to the press, Council members expressed their determination to address increasing terrorist attacks by Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, urged implementation of the national peace and partnership agreement, welcomed Khalid Bahah’s nomination as prime minister and agreed to consider urgently evidence to possibly sanction spoilers.
The Council issued a press statement on 23 September that welcomed the Peace and National Partnership Agreement signed on 21 September as “the best means to stabilize the situation and prevent further violence” and underlined the need for all parties, including the Houthis, to fulfil their commitments (SC/11578). On 16 September, the 2140 Yemen Sanctions Committee issued a press statement encouraging the Panel of Experts to develop case studies on individuals or entities threatening Yemen’s peace, security or stability, given the pace of developments in the country (SC/11564).
On 29 August, Council members were briefed in consultations by Special Adviser Jamal Benomar. Benomar’s briefing focused on the crisis gripping Yemen since 18 August when mass protests started in Sana’a and other cities following the call for demonstrations by Abdulmalek al-Houthi, leather of the Houthi (a Shi’a rebel group). He demanded the reinstatement of fuel subsidies and the dissolution of the government. The situation threatened to derail the ongoing political transition process. At press time, Council members were negotiating a draft presidential statement on the situation. Also on 29 August, the Council issued a presidential statement that expressed grave concern about the deterioration the security situation in Yemen in light of the actions taken by the Houthis.
On 11 July, after being briefed by Jamal Benomar the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Yemen under “any other business”, the Council issued a press statement demanding that the Houthis withdraw and relinquish control of Amran and hand over weapons and ammunition to the government (SC/11470).
On 20 June, the Council met in consultations with Special Adviser Jamal Benomar on the worsening security situation in Yemen, as well as the implementation of the national dialogue outcomes and the economic challenges facing Yemen.
On 5 May, the Council issued a press statement regarding the killing of a French national working at the EU delegation in Sana’a as well as other recent terrorist attacks in Yemen (SC/11381). On 14 May, Ambassador Raimonda Murmokaitė (Lithuania), chair of the 2140 Yemen Sanctions Committee, briefed the Council on progress in setting up the Committee (S/PV.7175). This included the adoption of its guidelines, the appointment of its Panel of Experts (PoE), its first meetings—including one with representatives from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)—and cooperation with other sanctions committees.
On 24 April, Council members received a briefing in consultations by Special Adviser Jamal Benomar on the steps taken by Yemen to implement the recommendations of the 21 January final document of the National Dialogue Conference.
The Council issued a press statement on 25 March condemning the 24 March terrorist attack in Hadramout that killed 20 soldiers (SC/11336).
On 26 February the Council adopted a resolution (S/RES/2140) expressing its strong support for completing the next steps of the transition, in line with the Implementation Mechanism, including the drafting of a new constitution, the adoption of a new electoral law, the holding of a referendum and general elections and the transition of the structure of the state from unitary to federal. The resolution established a sanctions regime, a sanctions committee and a four-member panel of experts and included among the designation criteria undermining the successful completion of the political transition, impeding the implementation of the final report of the NDC or being responsible for human rights abuses in Yemen. The resolution stops short of listing anyone (even though former President Ali Abdullah Saleh or former Vice-President Ali Salim Al-Beidh were named in a 15 February 2013 presidential statement (S/PRST/2013/3) in the context of the Council’s expressing its readiness to impose sanctions). The Council also expressed its concern over reported serious human rights abuses and violence against civilians in both the northern and southern governorates, including al-Dhale’e.
On 28 January, Council members were briefed by Special Adviser Jamal Benomar on the conclusion of the National Dialogue Conference and the next steps ahead of Yemen’s political transition.
On 5 December, the Council issued a press statement condemning the attack on the Defence Ministry and hospital in Sana’a that caused numerous deaths and injuries.
Special Adviser to the Secreatary-General on Yemen Jamal Benomar briefed Council membesr in consultations on 27 November on the last stages of the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) and the challenges ahead for the Yemeni transition, including the security threats posed by sectarian violence and terrorist attacks by Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. The same day the Council issued a press statement emphasising the importance of concluding the NDC as soon as possible to move toward constitution drafting and electoral preparations.
On 27 September, the Council was briefed by Special Adviser Jamal Benomar and the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani. Both Benomar and Al-Zayani addressed the last stages of Yemen’s National Dialogue Conference and challenges to the political transition, including threats posed by Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
On 11 June, the Council was briefed by Jamal Benomar, the Special Adviser on Yemen, mainly on the closure of the first plenary session of the National Dialogue Conference, as well as on the work of its working groups and consensus committee. The briefing was followed by consultations.
On 4 April, Council members received a briefing in consultations by the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Yemen, Jamal Benomar, mainly on the National Dialogue Conference that opened on 18 March. On 12 April, the Council issued a press statement welcoming Yemen’s reorganisation of the military and calling on “all parties to support the President’s decrees and to work to ensure their prompt implementation.” Also in April, the Iran Panel of Experts reported to the 1737 Iran Sanctions Committee on its investigation of allegations presented by Yemen that it had intercepted a ship in January carrying missiles and rockets from Iran destined for Yemeni rebel groups.
On 7 February, the Council was briefed by Ambassadors Mohammed Loulichki (Morocco) and Mark Lyall Grant (UK), co-leads of the Security Council visit to Yemen on 27 January. Both confirmed the achievement of the mission’s objectives, which were to evaluate implementation of resolution 2051 and to assess progress on political transition. Following this, Council members received a briefing in consultations from Special Adviser Jamal Benomar. On 15 February, after negotiations on references to reports of money and weapons being brought into Yemen from outside the country, the Council adopted a presidential statement welcoming the announcement of the National Dialogue Conference, highlighting the importance of inclusivity during the transition process and stressing the transition proceed according to the original timeline. The Panel of Experts that monitors compliance with the 1737 Iran sanctions regime arrived in Sana’a on 22 February to investigate the 23 January incident during which the Yemeni coast guard intercepted a ship carrying missiles and rockets allegedly sent by Iran for the purpose of undermining the transition.
On 27 January, Council members visited Yemen and met with President Hadi, parliamentarians, civil society and Gulf Cooperation Council members. The mission—co-led by the UK and Morocco and composed of all 15 members—represented the first Council visiting mission to Yemen and its first visit to the Middle East in five years.
On 4 December, Special Adviser Jamal Benomar briefed the Council, highlighting the breakthrough agreement on the allocation of seats for the forthcoming National Dialogue Conference.
On 13 September, Council members issued a press statement condemning the 11 September terrorist attack in Sana’a. On 18 September, Special Adviser on Yemen Jamal Benomar briefed Council members in consultations on challenges to Yemen’s transition process as well as other political, humanitarian and security issues. Benomar also updated the Council on the national dialogue conference as well as security reforms. Following a high-level “Friends of Yemen” meeting held on the margins of the General Assembly on 27 September, Council members issued a press statement commending Yemen’s progress in implementing its transition agreement and called upon all parties to continue to honour the timetable set out in the agreement and for all sides to act in a spirit of reconciliation.
In a 7 August statement, Special Adviser Jamal Benomar said Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi’s 6 August decrees concerning the restructuring of the security sector was an important step towards creating “the necessary conditions and take the necessary steps to integrate the armed forces under unified, national and professional leadership in the context of the rule of law.”
Special Adviser Jamal Benomar briefed Council members on 17 July in consultations. He noted that several political, humanitarian and security challenges continued to hamper the transition process and described interference from former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his kinsmen as a key obstacle to stability.
The Council unanimously adopted resolution 2051 on 12 June, expressing its “readiness to consider further measures, including under Article 41” should actions to undermine the government of National Unity and the political transition continue. The Secretary-General notified the Security Council of his intention to establish a small office of the Special Adviser on Yemen for an initial period of 12 months.
The Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Yemen briefed the Council on 29 May, followed by closed consultations. Earlier in the month the Council issued a press statement condemning a suicide attack killing 96 soldiers in Sana’a on 21 May. Friends of Yemen met at ministerial-level on 23 May.
The Council adopted a presidential statement on 29 March voicing its concern over the deteriorating situation since the transfer of power, following the 21 February presidential elections, to Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi and stressing the need for all political actors to remain committed to the political transition. Earlier this month the Secretary-General’s Special adviser briefed the Council on 7 March after a visit to Yemen. That same day the Council issued a press statement condemning the terrorist attacks of 4 March in the town of Zinjibar in Abyan province . Meanwhile, the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution calling upon the parties in Yemen to release persons arbitrarily detained by them and to end practices of unlawful detention.
Presidential elections took place on 21 February, and Vice President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi was inaugurated as President on 25 February. Members of the Council issued a press statement on 22 February acknowledging the significance of the political transition through presidential elections and encouraging a fully inclusive national dialogue, the constitutional review and other pending issues.
The Secretary-General’s Special Adviser briefed the Council on 25 January after extensive travel in the region and within Yemen. The Council issued a press statement that same day welcoming the formation of the Government of National Unity and calling for peaceful elections on 21 February.
The Secretary-General’s Special Adviser briefed the Council on 21 December. Members of the Council issued a press statement the following day welcoming the formation of the Government of National Unity while reiterating the call for the implementation of the GCC initiative and the implementation mechanism in a timely fashion. Click here for more details.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh signed the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative on 23 November in Riyadh after negotiating an implementation mechanism, initiating the transition of power from Saleh to Vice President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi during an interim period leading up to elections.The Secretary-General’s Special Adviser and the Deputy Director for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs briefed the Council on 28 November on the situation in Yemen.That same day the Council issued a press statement welcoming the signing of the GCC initiative and urging all parties to honour the timetable in the implementation of the agreement.
On 21 October the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2014 with key elements focusing on the GCC initiative for a transfer of power in Yemen, concern over the activities of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and the need for humanitarian assistance.
On 24 September Council members issued a press statement urging all sides to reject the violence that had erupted on Saleh’s surprise return to Yemen the previous day after undergoing surgery and medical treatment in Saudi Arabia. Earlier that month, the Council heard from DPA on GCC efforts and the presidential decree signed by Saleh empowering Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi to negotiate “a transfer mechanism” with the opposition.
The Council was briefed by the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on 9 August. Following the briefing, the Council issued a press statement expressing their concern at the serious deterioration of the situation urging all parties to move forward whilst acknowledging the importance of the GCC initiative.
On 24 June the Council was briefed by the UN envoy and issued a press statement expressing grave concern at the deteriorating situation and welcomed the mediation efforts by the Gulf Cooperation Council.
On 17 May the Council was briefed by the UN envoy during a briefing by the Department of Political Affairs on emerging issues.
On 19 April the Council was first briefed on Yemen by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe and the UN envoy.
A wave of anti-government social protests in Yemen started on 3 February.