Addressing a United Nations Security Council's (UNSC) meeting on Middle East (Yemen), TS Tirumurti, Indian Ambassador to the United Nations, condemned the recent attack on Aden International airport and said similar missile attacks within Yemen and across the border into Saudi Arabia have continued unabated in 2020.
New Delhi welcomed the recent "positive steps" 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 and appreciate the role played by Saudi Arabia and others in facilitating these developments.
"India welcomes these positive steps, which have triggered a wave of hope. We appreciate 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," Tirumurti said
"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. I reaffirm 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. We urge all Yemeni parties to work towards such a settlement," Tirumurti added.
The conflict in Yemen began in September 2014 when Houthi forces took over the capital city Sana'a.
The Saudi-UAE-led coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Houthis overthrew from power the internationally-recognised government in Sanaa, which the coalition seeks to restore.
The five-year civil war has left tens of thousands of people dead, most of them civilians, according to relief organisations, and has pushed millions to the brink of famine in what the UN calls the worst humanitarian crisis anywhere in the world.
The Riyadh Agreement was agreed in 2019 to ease tensions in southern Yemen between troops loyal to the internationally recognised government and the Southern Transitional Council. The two sides are part of a coalition fighting the Iran-backed Houthis.
Tirumurti highlighted that there are nearly 300,000 Indians of Yemeni origin living in India and 200,000 Indian origin diaspora in Yemen.
A large number of Indians were working in Yemen till 2015 when they were evacuated.
"This strong connect with Yemen, makes the instability, violence and suffering in Yemen painful for India and all Indians," Tirumurti said.
Tirumurti said 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".
He said that India will continue 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.
Conveying his heartfelt condolences to people of Yemen, government and the families of those who were killed in the attack at Aden International airport, the Indian envoy said New Delhi condemns the attack and views it as a deliberate attempt to undermine the ongoing peace efforts in Yemen.
"The targeting of the civilian airport and the killing of innocent civilians is unacceptable and cannot be justified for any reason whatsoever. The perpetrators of this heinous act should be held accountable and I urge the international community to support the Government of Yemen in its efforts to do so. We should ensure that terrorists do not take advantage of such a situation," he said.
"Similar missile attacks within Yemen and across the border into Saudi Arabia have continued unabated in 2020. Strict implementation of the arms embargo envisaged in resolution 2216 and its effective monitoring is necessary to create the conditions for the complete elimination of such threats in the future," he added.
India is also saddened by the tragic death of staff members of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the airport attack, Tirumurti said.
2020 also witnessed an increase in threats arising out of Yemen on commercial ships navigating the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, noted the envoy, adding that 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.
We also remain concerned by the uptick in incidents of violence in Hudaydah and Taiz, which has resulted in civilian deaths, especially of women and children. These attacks are a flagrant violation of the ceasefire provisions of the Stockholm Agreement and I urge all parties to fulfil their commitments under the Agreement," he said.
"The preservation and full implementation of the Stockholm Agreement is even more critical today as there are predictions of widespread famine in Yemen in 2021. It is extremely important that the Hudaydah Port and the other Red Sea ports remain operational to facilitate humanitarian shipments to Yemen," he added.
Tirumurti welcomes the signing of the Al-Ula Declaration at the recently concluded Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit in Saudi Arabia.
The Al-Ula Declaration puts an end to a crisis that started in 2017 when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar
"Before I conclude, let me also welcome the reconciliation and rapprochement between GCC countries and the signing of the Al-Ula Declaration at the recently concluded GCC Summit in Saudi Arabia," he said
"India acknowledges the key role of a unified GCC in promoting peace, stability and prosperity in Yemen. We also look forward to enhancing India's institutional dialogue and partnership with the GCC in the coming months," he added. (ANI)