Upon directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Yemen High-Level Pledging Event 2020 is virtually kicked off. This event is organized by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in partnership with the United Nations.
The Kingdom's delegation to the conference is chaired by Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and included Dr. Abdullah Abdulaziz Al Rabeeah, Advisor at the Royal Court and the Supervisor General of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief); Dr. Abdurrahman bin Ibrahim Al-Rassi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Multilateral International Affairs; Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed bin Saeed Al Jaber, who is also Supervisor of the Saudi Program for Development and Reconstruction of Yemen, and a number of senior KSrelief officials.
More than 126 entities will take part in the event, including 66 states, 15 UN agencies, 3 intergovernmental organizations and more than 39 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), in addition to the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Minister of Foreign Affairs, delivered today the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's Keynote during Donors Conference for Yemen 2020 (Virtual / via Video Conference).
Prince Faisal said that "it gives me great honor to convey to you the greetings of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, and their affirmation of the Kingdom's commitment to humanitarian principles and its firm commitment to alleviate the human suffering of the brotherly Yemeni people, as well as their deep appreciation to the United Nations for their efforts in providing humanitarian work through its agencies operating around the world and in Yemen in particular.
"The Kingdom has been keen to host this virtual conference despite the exceptional circumstances that the whole world is going through due to the outbreak of the Corona Virus pandemic (Covid19), and here I would like to express my appreciation to the participating delegations from the state governments, international organizations, and relevant non-governmental organizations, which reflects the importance of this conference to raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and announce financial pledges to meet the humanitarian needs there, which were caused by coup d’etat staged by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia to overthrow the legitimized leadership in the country," Prince Faisal added.
"We meet today and the Yemeni people are looking forward to a successful reach to an effective resolution to be implemented soon to help them face the humanitarian, military, security, economic and development challenges due to the inhuman practices being committed by Iranian-backed Houthi militias with their violations of blocking out humanitarian aids and looting relief convoys and impede its access to all Yemeni lands. This is in continuation of their obstruction of acceptance of the political solution based on the three references (the Gulf initiative, its executive mechanism, outcomes of comprehensive national dialogue, and Security Council Resolution 2216) and the relevant international resolutions and implementation of the 2018 Stockholm Agreement and thus the Houthi denial of all efforts and initiatives of ceasefire announced by the coalition to support legitimacy in Yemen, in addition to the invitation of the UN Special Envoy for Yemen to engage in direct negotiations between all Yemeni parties.
Prince Faisal called upon the international community to exert pressure on the Houthis militias allow the UN officials access to the SAFER oil tanker - that has more than a million barrels - and which is at risk of exploding since they took control of the port of Hodeidah in 2015 to prevent an greatest catastrophe with dire global economic and marine navigation consequences. Also, destroying the Houthi-planted naval mines that prevent the arrival of ships carrying aid, act against Houthi-imposed obstacles facing the humanitarian aid and operate the Red Sea mills safely in Al Hodeidah.
"I reiterate that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is keen to support all the efforts made by the United Nations to reach a sustainable political solution to the Yemeni crisis, and to lift the suffering of the Yemeni people to support the humanitarian, economic and development aspects in a way that reflects on its security and stability. It was noted that the Kingdom has provided humanitarian aid to Yemen since the beginning of the crisis in September 2014, totaling more than sixteen billion nine hundred and forty million US dollars including the King Salman Centre for Relief and Humanitarian Aid in Yemen and four hundred and fifty-three projects in twelve sectors including food, relief and humanitarian aid. As well as implementing one hundred and seventy-five projects by the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen in seven development sectors at a cost of more than one hundred and fifty million dollars and five hundred and twenty thousand dollars, in addition to offering supports to the Yemeni people inside the Kingdom. As well as bilateral government assistance, and providing a deposit of three billion dollars to support the local currency and the economy in Yemen, in addition to providing sixty million US dollars’ worth of energy derivatives per month to run electricity power plants, and The (Masam) Project that aims at clearing Yemeni lands of landmines and unexploded ordnance," he said.
"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia positively believe in mobilizing global efforts to address the situation in Yemen and alleviating the suffering of the Yemeni people and fulfil the country’s aspirations for a better future. Therefore, we call on all countries, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations to fulfil their financial pledges to Yemen, which were announced last year in the amount of two billion four hundred and ten million US dollars to fund the aid operation, Including one hundred and eighty million US dollars to combat the outbreak of the Corona Virus in Yemen and prevent a humanitarian catastrophe there," the Minister of Foreign Affairs affirmed.
"Finally, I would like to reaffirm that the Kingdom will always be committed to reaching a comprehensive political settlement and will be in support of the efforts of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen, Mr. Martin Griffiths, and his recent proposals for a permanent ceasefire, step up effort to build human and economic confidence, and the resumption of political consultations to reach a comprehensive political solution based on the three references, to confront human and economic challenges and in a way that achieves security and stability In Yemen.
I also cannot fail to thank and appreciate the efforts made by the organizers of this conference," he concluded.
Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres delivered a speech in which he expressed thanks and appreciation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for hosting this vital conference and its permanent assistance to Yemen, pointing out that Yemen faces difficult economic and humanitarian conditions at the institutional or personal levels, particularly in light of outbreak of the novel Coronavirus pandemic (Covid 19).
Guterres pointed out that the humanitarian situation in Yemen needs humanitarian assistance in this crisis, pointing out that famine and malnutrition threaten the lives of children. He added the Covid19 pandemic represents a threat to the lives of more than 10 million people in Yemen.
The UN Secretary-General affirmed that the health facilities in Yemen suffer from a lack and shortage of medical supplies and equipment, particularly ventilators and ambulances, disclosing that hospitals do not have reliable energy sources in addition to 50% of the population do not have access to clean water.
Guterres warned that more than 30 international humanitarian programs in Yemen might be closed next year due to lack of funding, calling on donors to fund generously and urgently humanitarian programs in Yemen.
For his part, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, disclosed the situation in Yemen is catastrophic, adding that COVID-19 is spreading rapidly across the country.
"COVID-19 comes on top of the many problems already facing Yemen – economic collapse, destroyed infrastructure, hunger, disease and displacement," he affirmed.
"So we have come together here today to see what the world wants to do about that. The United Nations and our partners have put forward a clear, workable plan. We are currently delivering humanitarian assistance to more than 10 million people across the country every month," he added.
Lowcock called on the Yemeni government to develop and work in order to avoid the risks, asserting that more than 41 aid programs in Yemen will close and end within this year if we do not provide appropriate funding.
He thanked all entities taking part in helping Yemen.