United Nations, Jan 14 (PTI) India has said that it is “deeply worried” by the increase in threats arising out of Yemen on commercial ships navigating the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden last year, saying this trend threatens safe passage of commercial vessels and maritime security in the region and called for the UN Security Council’s immediate attention and deliberation on the issue.
India’s Permanent Representative to the UN T S Tirumurti, speaking on Thursday at the UN Security Council meeting on Middle East (Yemen), said the year 2020 “witnessed an increase in threats” arising out of Yemen on commercial ships navigating the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
“India is deeply worried by this trend, which threatens not only the safe passage of commercial vessels but also maritime security in the region. This issue deserves the Council’s immediate attention and calls for greater deliberation,” he said.
Tirumurti told the Council, which was also briefed by Special Envoy Martin Griffiths, Under- Secretary General Mark Lowcock and Executive Director of World Food Program David Beasley, that India is also concerned by the uptick in incidents of violence in Hudaydah and Taiz, which has resulted in civilian deaths, especially of women and children.
Describing the attacks as a flagrant violation of the ceasefire provisions of the Stockholm Agreement, Tirumurti urged all parties to fulfill their commitments under the Agreement.
The Stockholm agreement, a voluntary accord between the parties of the conflict in Yemen, was agreed upon in December 2018.
It has three main components -agreement on the city of Hudaydah and the ports of Hudaydah, Salif and Ras Issa; an executive mechanism on activating the prisoner exchange agreement and a statement of understanding on Taïz.
Tirumurti stressed that the preservation and full implementation of the Stockholm Agreement is even more critical today as there are predictions of a widespread famine in Yemen in 2021.
He emphasized that it is extremely important that the Hudaydah Port and the other Red Sea ports remain operational to facilitate humanitarian shipments to Yemen.
“The plight of millions of Yemenis facing, inter alia, severe food insecurity as well as children suffering malnourishment are immediate needs which should move the conscience of the world community,” Tirumurti said, reiterating India’s commitment to provide medical and other assistance to those affected by the conflict.
“It is time we put the people of Yemen at the centre of our efforts in the midst of all other developments,” he said.
India took note of the recent significant achievements in the pursuit of peace in Yemen – the formation of the new cabinet and the security re-deployments in southern Yemen - as envisaged under the Riyadh agreement.
Welcoming these positive steps, which has triggered a wave of hope, Tirumurti said India appreciates the role played by Saudi Arabia and others in facilitating these developments.
“We also commend the new government’s resolve to continue its efforts towards achieving peace and stability in Yemen, despite the recent attacks,” he said.
Tirumurti conveyed condolences to the Government and people of Yemen and the families of those killed in the attack at Aden International airport.
“India strongly condemns the attack and views it as a deliberate attempt to undermine the ongoing peace efforts in Yemen,” Tirumurti said adding that the targeting of the civilian airport and the killing of innocent civilians is unacceptable and cannot be justified for any reason whatsoever.
He called for the perpetrators of this heinous act to be held accountable and urged the international community to support the Yemeni Government in its efforts to do so, ensuring that terrorists do not take advantage of such situation.
Tirumurti noted with concern that similar missile attacks within Yemen and across the border into Saudi Arabia have continued unabated in 2020, underlining that a strict implementation of the arms embargo and its effective monitoring is necessary to create the conditions for complete elimination of such threats in the future.
Highlighting India’s centuries-old relationship with Yemen, the Indian envoy said a large number of Indians were working in Yemen till 2015 when India was forced to evacuate them.
India’s strong connect with Yemen makes the instability, violence and suffering in Yemen painful for India and all Indians.
“If we are serious about finding a long-term solution to Yemen’s challenges, then the Council should press urgently for a sustainable and comprehensive political settlement of the conflict,” he said reaffirming India’s steadfast commitment to a Yemeni-led and Yemeni-owned political process with the goal of achieving an inclusive and peacefully negotiated settlement to the conflict and urged all Yemeni parties to work efforts towards such a settlement.
India took note of Griffiths’s efforts to initiate dialogue between the Government of Yemen and Ansar Allah, more commonly known as the Houthi rebel group in Yemen. PTI YAS RUP