FILE PHOTO: Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres speaks during a United Nations Security Council meeting at UN Headquarters in New York City, New York, US, August 28, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
UN chief Antonio Guterres has stressed that it was “very important” for Houthi militias in Yemen to halt missile attacks on Saudi Arabia, as Western diplomats told Asharq Al-Awsat that the UK is planning to present a draft Security Council resolution on the crisis in Yemen.
It is “very important that no missiles or other forms of aggression are sent against Saudi Arabia,” Guterres told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York on Friday.
“Yemen today stands on a precipice,” the UN Secretary-General warned.
“The international community has a real opportunity to halt the ... cycle of violence and to prevent an imminent catastrophe,” he said.
Over the last several months, military escalation worsened the economic crisis, he told reporters.
He said that last week, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, warned the Security Council that “Yemen is closer to famine than ever.”
“First, violence must stop everywhere,” said Guterres. “Second, commercial and humanitarian imports of food, fuel and other essentials must be allowed to enter Yemen.”
He also called for supporting the Yemeni economy. “This includes taking critical steps to stabilize the exchange rate and to pay salaries and pensions.”
The UN chief said “international funding must increase now so that humanitarian agencies can expand their reach as necessary.”
He stressed it is essential that the Yemeni parties engage in good faith and without pre-conditions with UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths to reach a negotiated political settlement to end the conflict.
His press conference came amid a British plan to draft a Security Council resolution with the support of the US and France to deal with the humanitarian situation in Yemen and to back dialogue in hopes of reaching a political settlement.
A western diplomat, who refused to be identified, said that the UK has launched the consultations to draft the resolution, which will include the five main points recently announced by Lowcock.