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Speech by Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Yemen, at the opening of the Yemeni peace talks in Kuwait

16 July 2016


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Good evening.

Allow me first to thank you all for your attendance, cooperation and commitment to the Yemeni peace process.

The Yemeni peace talks in Kuwait continue today after several weeks of daily sessions and two weeks of intensive consultations with the regional and Yemeni political leaderships. The time has come for you to take definitive decisions that demonstrate to the Yemeni people the sincerity of your intentions and your national obligations. Those definitive decisions will primarily revolve around UNSC Resolution 2216 (2015) and other relevant resolutions, the Gulf Initiative and its implementation mechanism, and the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference.

We are going to continue holding our meetings in Kuwait for an additional two weeks, during which we will concentrate on the complete and comprehensive consolidation of the cessation of hostilities, the activation of the de-escalation and coordination committee and the local committees, in addition to the formation of the military committees that will supervise the withdrawal and the handing over of weapons from area A and on the opening of safe corridors for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. At the same time, the prisoners and detainee committee will continue its work, and I reiterate the emphasis of the international community on the necessity of the release of all prisoners and detainees as soon as possible. The priorities for this stage are the consolidation of the cessation of hostilities, the improvement of the humanitarian situation and an agreement on the security arrangements so that we can manage to address all of the other issues.

During the past two weeks, I convened intensive meetings in Yemen, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Sultanate of Oman to discuss the security, political, economic, and humanitarian issues. I held more than one meeting with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, members of the Yemeni political leadership, and yourselves as the delegations participating in the peace talks, in addition to the representatives of other parties and political actors. I also met the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council His Excellency Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani and was in constant contact with other political figures and diplomats, who reiterated their support for the efforts of the United Nations and the importance of reaching a final solution for the crisis in Yemen. I will take this opportunity to extend my gratitude to the Emir of the State of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and the Government and people of the State of Kuwait and similarly my highest esteem to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Sultanate of Oman for all of the efforts that they made to guarantee the continuation of the peace talks.

This stage is delicate and definitive; you are going to be closely scrutinized by the Yemeni and international public. The United Nations has put at your disposal all of its political and administrative expertise, while the State of Kuwait kindly devoted a full team for logistical, security and political support. However, all this is not enough if you do not exert all efforts necessary to ensure security and stability in Yemen. People do not require political statements detailing your concessions, patriotism or your concern for them. Yemeni men and women will understand your concern when you are concerned with their security and will appreciate your labours when their security, humanitarian, and economical situation improves. Political statements and speeches lose their credibility with every security breach and with each loss of civilian life.

We therefore have much to achieve in the two weeks ahead. Two weeks to demonstrate good will and credibility and concern for the national interest. Two weeks to build upon the solid common ground achieved and on the decisions of the previous period. I hope that you will take advantage of this opportunity, which could be the last to earn the trust of Yemenis. The attainment of peace might be hard but derailing is easy.

You must listen to the voices of women and men who call for peace. Work towards bettering the situation of the citizens, human rights, and on achieving the aspirations of the Yemeni youth. Leadership is actions, not words.

You are Yemen’s hope. The people of Yemen are waiting on you; do not return to Yemen without peace, and upon you be peace and the mercy and blessings of God.

16 July 2016