UN Secretary-General calls for more to be done to end the devastating conflict in Yemen on the anniversary of the Stockholm Agreement
In a press release marking the second anniversary of the Stockholm agreement on 13 December 2020, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, called for more to be done to end the devastating war in Yemen.
“The Stockholm Agreement helped to avert a catastrophic military escalation at the time, thereby safeguarding the continued although limited functioning of the Red Sea ports and the entry of commercial goods and key humanitarian assistance, on which millions of Yemenis depend to survive. The preservation of this lifeline is even more vital now as pockets of famine-like conditions have returned in Yemen and millions are facing severe, growing food insecurity, in particular against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic. I call on all Member States to step up their financial support for United Nations relief operations, and to help address the severe economic crisis in the country.”
Mr. Guterres urged the parties to the conflict to fulfil the commitments they signed up to in the Stockholm Agreement, including through the full and unconditional participation in the Redeployment Coordination Committee and other joint mechanisms and implementation of the ceasefire on the ground in Al Hudaydah. The Secretary-General indicated that it was only through dialogue that the parties would be able to agree on a nationwide ceasefire, and economic and humanitarian confidence-building measures to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people, and the resumption of an inclusive political process to reach a comprehensive negotiated settlement to end the conflict.
The Stockholm Agreement had three main components: a ceasefire in Al Hudaydah City and the ports of Al Hudaydah, Saleef and Ras Issa, an agreement on activating a prisoner exchange agreement, and a statement of understanding on Taizz. The Agreement took effect on 18 December 2018 and was endorsed by the UN Security Council under resolution 2451 (2018) on 21 December 2018. In the year prior to the Agreement, fighting displaced hundreds of thousands of people in Al Hudaydah, the price of food skyrocketed, and more than two-thirds of the country was threatened with acute levels of food insecurity without humanitarian assistance – about 90 per cent of Yemen’s commercial imports and 70 per cent of its humanitarian assistance arrived through Al Hudaydah’s ports.
On the humanitarian file, there have been frequent violations of the ceasefire, but food and fuel has continued to arrive through the Al Hudaydah ports over the past two years, and thousands of displaced people were able to return to Al Hudaydah City. While attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure continue, civilian casualties have substantially decreased. Access issues make it difficult to confirm the exact number of civilian casualties in Yemen, but verified figures indicate that the number of civilians killed in Al Hudaydah Governorate decreased from 350 in 2018 to 83 in 2020, while the total number of civilians injured reduced from 526 to 219. Over the same period, the number of children killed fell from 128 to 26 and the number injured fell from 178 to 112. Other sources, including the Civilian Impact Monitoring Project, suggest that the number of civilian casualties was higher but still show a fall in numbers following the Stockholm Agreement.