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On Yemen, No UNSC Statement About No Diesel, Where to Meet

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 1, with transcript -- On Yemen, the UN Security Council convened a closed door meeting on Friday May 1 at 1 pm. Going in, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin explained that he called it, because not only weapons but diesel fuel is being blocked from getting in, to propose a statement.

  Churkin emerged mid-meeting and said more, then finally at the end expressing disappointment no agreement was reached. Here's Inner City Press' fast transcription of what Churkin said:

"There were some proposals for language from resolution 2216. But this really shows an amazing indecision and I think lack of understanding of how things are evolving. I told them, listen, when you were pushing for this resolution 2216 your forecast was not what we are seeing now. If it wasn’t, then there is a problem with their analysis. They are, some countries are going back to the capitals. But I see the mood, I don’t see any prospect for this.

"It was a procrastination reaction. In one situation we heard people talking about humanitarian problems, and now they are prepared to ignore them altogether. They play lip service. They say, things are very bad. But what can we do?

  "It is very clear from resolution 2216 that it did not authorize the use of military force. Some colleagues were saying that the Saudi led coalition is trying to make sure that resolution 2216 is implemented. This is not the case. Their action is completely outside the resolution. The resolution does not provide for military means....
  "The next step, I am pretty sure we will not have any statement today. But we’ll see what the new special representative is going to do. I think I was encouraged, somewhat encouraged, to hear Jeff Feltman say the SG wants to act quickly. He wants to put together a conference very quickly. And I think also it’s my understanding the things which were worked on before agreed on before are not going to be discarded.

"The GCC initiative is there, and the GCC initiative is supported in 2216. So you cannot – if that were to be discarded we would have to start from scratch. The GCC initiative needs to be implemented. And this is what the special representative of the SG, the previous one, had been working on. Now we have a new person, and we hope he can restart the process very quickly."

  We'll see. New UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft stopped on his way into the meeting and said "there can be no military solution, the only way out is a political solution and that means a return to political talks."

  Good - but where?

  On is way into the meeting, Churkin had cited an April 30 statement by Saudi Arabia which he said could be read as calling for the talks to resume in Riyadh, which "some of the parties are definitely not going to attend."

  As Inner City Press reported and asked the UN, Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif at NYU this week said Geneva might be the venue; Inner City Press asked the UN which, in a rare answer, said it is a possibility.

Here is Inner City Press' fast transcript of what Churkin said on his way into the UNSC:

  "There are very serious basic shortages of food, medicine, diesel fuel which for some reason they’re not allowing to be brought in. Everything there works on diesel fuel in Yemen. 
There is no embargo of bringing anything but weapons for some people. So, why they are posing problems for bringing in diesel fuel is something which has to be looked at.
"And generally, we all support negotiations and we don’t see an interest on the part of those who are engaged in bombing in engaging with the new special representative of the Secretary General. So, we are going to discuss, and I hope we hear what Mr. Feltman has to stay about the statement they issued yesterday where it could be read as calling for a meeting in Riyadh, which some parties definitely are not going to attend, and sort of as a rallying cry for those who support President Hadi, against whom, I suppose against those who they are fighting now in Yemen.
But always, it is boding very ill for developments in the near future, both on humanitarian and security front. We want to discuss the situation with members of the Security Council.
....we’ll be proposing a brief press statement. As from the outset. From the outset. It reflects end of hostilities, or at least humanitarian pauses, and immediate resumption of talks on the basis which has been prepared through a lengthy process of negotiations by Mr. Benomar."

  UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on April 25 named Ismael Ould Cheikh Ahmed to replace Jamal Benomar as envoy.

  Three times Inner City Press had asked the Office of the UN Spokesperson why Ould Cheikh Ahmed is not listed on Ban's webpage of public financial discloure and to say, yes or no, if he has an interest in a business which received funding from the Gulf. Three times the Office of Spokesperson promised to look into and give an answer, but never did. This is Ban's UN.


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