Thank you very much and good afternoon everyone and as you can imagine I would have wanted to be with you in person today but I had to remain in the region for the implementation of the truce.
As you know, the parties to the conflict in Yemen agreed to enter into a two-months truce which started on April the 2nd this year. And during these past six weeks we have seen considerable positive impact on the daily lives of many Yemenis. Only a couple of months ago, many would have considered this unthinkable. I want to applaud the parties for taking the courageous steps of agreeing to this truce to prioritize alleviating the suffering of the Yemeni people.
Allow me to explain where things stand regarding the implementation of the truce, before turning to the way forward.
First and most importantly, the truce is holding in military terms. Over the past six weeks, civilian casualties have dropped considerably. Fighting has sharply reduced with no aerial attacks emanating from Yemen across its borders and no confirmed airstrikes inside Yemen. Frontlines across Yemen have quietened down significantly. And there are reports of increasing humanitarian access, including in some frontline locations that had previously been extremely difficult to access. However, we continue to see concerning reports of continued fighting involving incidents of civilian casualties despite overall reduction, including in Taiz and Dhale.
Second, the first commercial flight in almost six years took off from Sana’a International Airport and arrived in Jordan just yesterday. Another flight also brought Yemenis back to Sana’a from Amman. I would like to thank the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for its invaluable support in facilitating yesterday’s flights, and thank the Government of Yemen for its constructive cooperation and for prioritizing the needs of Yemenis. This has brought relief to so many Yemenis who have waited too long to travel, many of them for pressing medical reasons, and to pursue business and educational opportunities, or to reunite with loved ones after years of separation. We are working with all involved to ensure the regularization of flights to and from Sana’a airport for the duration of the Truce and to find durable mechanisms to keep it open. A second flight is now scheduled for tomorrow.
Third, The Government of Yemen has cleared 11 fuel ships to enter through Hudaydah port so far. This amounts to more fuel than during the six months prior to the truce. The fuel crisis that threatened civilians’ access to basic goods and services in Sana’a and surrounding governorates largely subsided.
Fourth, on the commitment to hold the meeting on opening roads in Taiz and other governorates, the Government of Yemen has appointed its focal points for a meeting under UN auspices as per terms of the truce. We intend to organize the meeting in Amman as soon as Ansar Allah appoints their representatives. This is a priority for me and for my Office. As you know, I visited Taiz last year and I witnessed how the continued closure of roads in Taiz increases travel time across Yemen, separates families, and makes struggles out of daily life necessities like going to work, sending children to school, or reaching hospitals. Making progress towards ending this suffering is an essential part of the truce.
The promise of the truce to civilians was one of more security, better access to basic goods and services, and improved freedom of movement within, to and from Yemen. Yemenis can’t afford to go back to the pre-truce state of perpetual military escalation and political stalemate. I continue to engage the parties to overcome outstanding challenges and to ensure the extension of the truce, which is set to expire in two weeks. In this regard, I am grateful for the consistent and robust support of the international community, in advocating for the implementation and the extension of the truce. I would like to note in particular the support provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
While the truce is a historic moment in and of itself, it consists of a set of temporary and exceptional measures that need to be underpinned by political process in order to be sustained. Some of the challenges in implementing the truce derive from contentious issues that have been obvious and expected. These need to be addressed in a more comprehensive context beyond the current temporary nature of the truce.
And this is why I am continuing my work on initiating an inclusive multitrack process which will serve as the platform where the parties and other Yemenis can tackle critical issues for more sustainable arrangements and to reach a political settlement. The continued support of the region and the international community including the Security Council will be crucial to make this happen.
Thank you very much Stephane.