The UN Security Council on Saturday expressed its concerns over the humanitarian situation in Yemen, which has been plunged in escalating violence over the past weeks, and is working on a draft resolution proposed by Russia, the council president told reporters here.
Jordanian UN Ambassador Dina Kawar, this month’s president of the 15-nation council, emerged after a little more than one hour of closed-door consultations to tell reporters here that members of the council would continue to meet with members of the Gulf Cooperation Council over the weekend.
“And we hope that we can by Monday come up with something,” she said at the end of the emergency council meeting, convened at the request of Russia.
The unscheduled meeting was the second one by the council on Yemen over the past two weeks. On March 22, the 15-nation UN body called an emergency meeting to discuss the volatile situation in Yemen.
During the Saturday emergency consultations, members reaffirmed support of the council’s earlier resolutions on Yemen and ” reiterated their concern over the grave humanitarian situation that Yemen has been facing for a while,” she said.
“The Russian delegation circulated a draft resolution to the council members regarding humanitarian pauses in Yemen and expressed concerns over the humanitarian situation in Yemen since a long time,” she said, adding that the council members need time to reflect on the Russian proposal.”
“As you know, the GCC has been engaged for sometime on a draft resolution that deals with the political situation in Yemen,” said Kawar, speaking as Amman’s envoy. “We will continue our efforts to reach consensus on that.”
“We should not forget that the root causes and conditions that led to the current grave situation and humanitarian situation in Yemen is due to the failure of implementation of (Security Council) Resolution 2201 by the Houthis,” the Shia rebels seeking the ouster of Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, the internationally-backed president, she said.
Asked if she knew if any countries were evacuating their citizens from Yemen, the ambassador replied, “There are evacuations that are being done, actually right now.”
In response to the current situation on the ground, the United Nations has relocated its peace envoy for Yemen, Jamal Benomar, to Jordan and withdrew its last 13 foreign employees from the country, deputy UN spokesman Farhan Haq said here Tuesday.
The Yemeni crisis has become the focus of the ongoing Arab summit led by Egypt and attended by 20 Arab monarchs and presidents, including fleeing Yemeni President Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi, amid an ongoing Saudi-led military airstrike against targets of Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Yemen has been mired in political gridlock since 2011 when mass protests forced former President Ali Abdullash Saleh to step down.
The three-year reconciliation talks failed to resolve the crisis but create huge power vacuum that could benefit the powerful al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and other extremist groups.
Conflict in Yemen killed more than 500 people over the past two weeks, Valerie Amos, the UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said in a statement issued by her office on Thursday.
Extremely concerned for the safety of civilians caught in the midst of “fierce fighting” in Yemen, Amos, who is also the UN emergency relief coordinator, called on all parties involved to meet their obligations under international law and do their utmost to protect the ordinary women, children and men who are suffering the consequences of the conflict.
Amos said reports from humanitarian partners in different parts of the country indicate that some 519 people have been killed and nearly 1,700 injured in the past two weeks, more than 90 of them being children.
Further, Amos said tens of thousands of people have fled their homes, some by crossing the sea to Djibouti and Somalia. Electricity, water and essential medicines are in short supply.
“Those engaged in fighting must ensure that hospitals, schools, camps for refugees and those internally displaced and civilian infrastructure, especially in populated areas, are not targeted or used for military purposes,” she said.
Despite the grave dangers, she continued, United Nations agencies and humanitarian partners are coordinating with the Yemen Red Crescent and local authorities to deliver emergency health kits, generators so that people can get clean water, food and blankets. Enditem