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On Yemen, Push on GCC Draft by Monday, US Didn't Raise Evacuations

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 4, with video -- Amid complaints by Doctors Without Borders and the International Committee of the Red Cross that they can't get medical aid into Yemen, an urgent UN Security Council meeting began on Saturday April 4 at 11 am, on a proposal for "humanitarian pauses" -- and evacuation.

  Nearly an hour after the meeting broke up, April's Security Council president Dina Kawar of Jordan came to the stakeout and gave a summary, or two (as President and in her national capacity) and took two questions, including one from Inner City Press (the US did not raise the issue of evacuations in the meeting).

 Here's what Ambassador Kawar said as Jordan's Ambassador:

“As you know the GCC has been engaged for some time on a draft resolution that deals with the political situation in Yemen. We will continue our efforts to reach a consensus on that. We should not forget the root causes that led to the current grave situation and humanitarian situation in Yemen is due to the failure of the implementation of Resolution 2201 by the Houthis.”

     “We just met. We have arranged for meeting on the side between a few members of the Council and the GCC, we are working on that all day today. We hope that by Monday we can come up with something.”

  Inner City Press asked Kawar if any UN Security Council member raised the issue of evacuations. She said, evacuations are under way. Inner City Press asked if the US had raised the issue of evacuations in the meeting. She said, No, the US did not raise it. Video will be on

 Here is what Ambassador Kawar said as UNSC President:

The Council met this morning upon a request from the Russian delegation. The Council members reaffirmed their views on the importance of the full implementation of the Security Council's resolutions on Yemen in particular Resolution 2201. The Council members also reiterated their concern over the grave humanitarian situation that Yemen has been facing for a while.

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. The Council members need time to reflect on the Russian proposal.”

 Her statement in her national capacity will follow.

   The meeting ended at just after noon at 12:30. Saudi Arabia's ambassador and an entourage arrived outside the Security Council. Inner City Press asked him if Saudi Arabia has spoke with the US about allowing safe evacuation of Americans. He replied that Saudi Arabia is cooperative.

  Overall, the Saudi ambassador said that the GCC draft resolution is "more comprehensive" than what Russia proposed, and that he hopes Russia wouldn't veto the GCC proposal.

  When the meeting ended, UK Deputy Peter Wilson said he'd leave it to the Presidency - that is, Jordan's Dina Kawar - to say what happened as a result of the meeting?

    The UK's Wilson on his way into the Security Council said, "we continue to support the Saudi-led action in Yemen... in response to a legitimate request.”

  Wilson said the UK regrets all casualties and is committed to international humanitarian law including access by agencies to deliver aid.

  But, Wilson said, “it is extremely important” to note “how we got to this position.” He said the Houthis took military action, took action by force instead of engage in talks and called for a return to “genuine political talks on an equal basis.”

   Despite being called "urgent," things were surprisingly low key. Speaking on the way into the Council's closed door meeting were the Permanent Representatives of Chad and Nigeria, and the Deputy Permanent Representatives of Russia and, as noted and quoted above, of the UK.

  The Saudis, it should be noted, have been air-dropping weapons and ammunition into Yemen. One might think the Security Council would want to get a briefing from the ICRC. But they were not here.

  Soon it was leaked -- presumably by a Western Permanent Three members of the Security Council -- that Russia had tabled a resolution.  This is how it works, or doesn't, at the UN Security Council.

   Beyond aid getting in, how might this impact people's desire and need to get out?

   Back on March 30  Inner City Press asked the US State Department if any steps are being taken to evacuated Yemeni Americans.

  On March 31 a State Department official provided Inner City Press on background with this answer:

"We have no current plans to evacuate private U.S. citizens from Yemen. We continue to watch the situation closely. The protection and safety of U.S. citizens overseas are among our top priorities."

  Some of those impacted, including Yemeni Americans, pointed out to Inner City Press that other countries, as simply one example Pakistan which is part of the Saudi-led coalition, have done evacuations. This has been followed by India, China and others.  But not (yet?) the US, leading to the campaign #StuckInYemen. We'll haver more on this.


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