Russian Ambassador: Russia supports the start of negotiations in Yemen with the participation of all parties

20 January

The negotiation process to resolve the crisis in Yemen is not going through the best of times, and Russia stands for its immediate start with the participation of all the warring parties, Russian Ambassador to Yemen Vladimir Dedushkin told TASS.

"The negotiation process is not going through the best of times. This, in particular, was announced by the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, earlier at a briefing at the UN Security Council on January 14, the Russian diplomat noted. "He has not yet managed to bring the parties to the conflict to the negotiating table to discuss the UN-prepared peace plan-the Joint Declaration."

Dedushkin recalled that the document was coordinated with them for a whole year and found a balanced framework. "It provides for a complete and universal ceasefire, the resolution of humanitarian and economic issues, primarily ensuring the unhindered access of merchant ships to the port of Hodeidah and the opening of the airport in Sana'a," the ambassador continued. "But even more important are the provisions of the Joint Declaration on the immediate start of inclusive negotiations on ending the war and the future state structure of Yemen."

"I see no reason to refuse to discuss this important document. However, both sides, unfortunately, find shortcomings in it, and, in my opinion, clearly of an unprincipled nature, and so far refuse to go to negotiations, " he said. - "They put forward preliminary conditions, insist on revising the text in their favor. This approach cannot be called constructive."

"We need to accept the Griffiths formula and immediately enter into a direct dialogue. In the course of it, any controversial issues can be eliminated," Dedushkin is convinced. "In the end, it is up to the Yemenis themselves to negotiate, and the UN plays no more than a mediator and helper."

In addition, the diplomat believes that negotiations "are needed now, like air." "After all, the Southern Transitional Council, which is part of the new government, will take part in them for the first time. The government delegation that is supposed to negotiate with the Houthis will now include the southerners in accordance with the Riyadh Agreement," he said. At the same time, the ambassador added, for the first time during the conflict, a unique situation was created when "all Yemenis, without exception, could come together and determine the fate of their country, easing the suffering of the people."

On the complication of the humanitarian crisis

Dedushkin noted that the growth of infectious diseases, the influx of refugees from African countries complicate the already difficult humanitarian situation in Yemen.

"The humanitarian situation in Yemen is not on the verge of a crisis, but at its very epicenter in the truest sense of the word," the diplomat stressed.

"The UN is literally sounding the alarm, asking the donor countries to fulfill their commitments. The money is critically lacking, " the ambassador pointed out. "Humanitarian organizations are able to serve, and even then not completely, only half of the country's population, while 90% of Yemenis need humanitarian assistance."

In addition, Dedushkin continued, Yemen is flooded with refugees from Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea - 200 thousand of them, as well as internally displaced persons, whose number has reached 4 million people. "The scale of the disaster is becoming obvious," the ambassador said. "Of course, the situation is complicated by infectious diseases, including cholera and plague, as well as the coronavirus pandemic."

According to the latest data, the diplomat noted, about 16 million people are starving in Yemen, 50 thousand actually die of starvation, 5 million are on the verge of starvation. "The UN humanitarian appeal last year was only half fulfilled, that is, $1.7 billion was received out of the requested $3.4 billion," Dedushkin said. - The same amount will be requested this year. It's easy to promise - it's hard to collect."

On the supply of Russian vaccines

Dedushkin also said that Russia has not received an official request from the Yemeni leadership to purchase the Sputnik V vaccine, but will consider such a request if it is received.

The diplomat noted that he talked last fall about the possibility of supplying a Russian coronavirus vaccine to Yemen with the former Foreign Minister of the republic. "Of course, our response was positive," the ambassador said. "However, the Yemenis did not specify their interest in the form of an official appeal, including from the new government."

"If it is received, I think it will be considered with maximum attention," said Dedushkin.

About the new government

According to Dedushkin, the new government of Yemen is making every effort to improve the economic situation of the country's population.

According to him, the economic situation in the republic remains difficult. "The new government that has arrived in Aden, led by the Prime Minister, is doing everything in its power to overcome the crisis. Actively, the newly appointed Governor of Aden Ahmed Lamlas involved in the work ," the diplomat said.

"According to the instructions of the President of the republic, priority is given to the resolution of social issues," said Dedushkin. - In Aden and in other territories, water and electricity supply is disrupted, there is a shortage of food, there are delays in the salaries of civil servants. From the very first days, the government has outlined programs for restoring the economy and is working almost around the clock."

At the same time, the ambassador noted, the fluctuations of the national currency, which first strengthened after the arrival of the government in Aden, but after the incident at the airport at the end of last year, collapsed again, have a negative impact. "However, I want to believe that the northerners and southerners who are part of the cabinet on a parity basis will take control of the situation," the diplomat expressed hope. - The Riyadh agreement concluded with the assistance of Saudi Arabia should work, including in the economic sphere. With the help of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, medical services are gradually being established in Aden, new hospitals, schools, infrastructure are being built, and the Aden airport has been restored and is functioning. There have been some changes in the fight against corruption."

About the participation of the United States and the United Nations

According to Dedushkin, the US intention to list the Yemeni Houthi movement "Ansar Allah" as a terrorist organization threatens the UN mediation role in resolving the conflict in Yemen.

"Undoubtedly, the US initiative to classify the Ansar Allah movement as a terrorist organization would not only complicate the UN mediation work, but would actually put it on the verge of failure," the diplomat is convinced. The Houthis and the Yemeni government, he noted, are designated in UN Security Council resolutions as parties to the conflict, which must be resolved through negotiations.

According to Dedushkin, the American initiative "will not encourage the Houthis to negotiate, as Washington seems to mistakenly believe." "The leaders of Ansar Allah and the public forces supporting them have already expressed outrage at the offensive tone of the outgoing US administration. We should expect that their approach will only become tougher, " the ambassador stressed. - I would like to ask our American colleagues a question: How will they now, in their national capacity, contact the Houthis, implementing UN decisions, including within the framework of the" five " ambassadors of the permanent members of the UN Security Council?"

"The same can be said about the most negative impact of this decision on the work of humanitarian organizations in Yemen. On January 12, the official representative of the UN Secretary-General, Stephane Dujarric, said that this situation will significantly complicate the import of food into starving Yemen, since the country depends on food imports for 90%, Dedushkin said. - Humanitarian agencies unanimously condemned this step by the United States. I believe that the US Congress will not allow such an arrogantly and obviously erroneous initiative, and then it will be disavowed by the future US administration."

On January 10, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced his intention to include the Ansar Allah movement in the list of terrorist organizations of the State Department. According to him, such a decision "will provide additional tools to counter the terrorist activities of the Ansar Allah, supported, according to Washington, by Tehran, and will contribute to progress in overcoming instability in Yemen. Inclusion in the list of terrorist organizations means, in particular, the freezing of assets in the United States and a ban on American citizens or companies from doing business with its defendants.


GSV "Russia - Islamic World"

Photo: Creative Commons