Middle East / Yemen - Security Council, 8981st meeting
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1) The situation in the Middle East Letter dated 25 January 2022 from the Panel of Experts on Yemen addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/2022/50)

The Security Council decided today to renew for one year the arms embargo on Yemen, as well as the travel ban and asset freeze against those threatening peace in that country.

By the terms of resolution 2624 (2022) (to be issued as document S/RES/2624(2022)), adopted by 11 votes in favour to none against, with 4 abstentions (Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, Norway), the 15-member Council extended, until 28 February 2023, the measures first imposed by its resolution 2140 (2014), relating to the travel ban and asset freeze, as well as the provisions in resolution 2216 (2015) relating to the targeted arms embargo, while noting that those are not intended to have adverse humanitarian consequences for Yemeni civilians.

Also by the text, the Council extended, until 28 March 2023, the mandate of the associated Panel of Experts.

Further by the text, the Council strongly condemned the cross-border attacks by the Houthi terrorist group, including attacks on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that struck civilians and civilian infrastructure.

Several delegates welcomed the adoption, with the representative of the United Arab Emirates highlighting its call for an end to the suffering of civilians in Yemen and the wider region. The text seeks to limit the capacity of the Houthis and end attacks on international navigational waters, she said, expressing support for a political solution under the auspices of the United Nations, in accordance with the Gulf Initiative, National Dialogue Conference and relevant Security Council resolutions.

However, Mexico’s representative, who abstained from today’s vote, was among delegates expressing concern about the resolution’s characterization of the Houthis as a terrorist group, despite the absence of an internationally agreed definition of terrorism. Such a characterization must be maintained within the regimes established under Security Council resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1373 (2001), and not through resolutions relating to sanctions regimes, he emphasized.

Norway’s delegate, who also abstained, expressed support for the imposition of targeted sanctions, but cautioned against the unintended humanitarian consequences of designating the Houthis as a terrorist group. In the absence of a declared definition, such labelling may have negative impacts on efforts to facilitate a political solution and address the country’s large-scale humanitarian needs, she said. Welcoming the Council’s action to limit the Houthis’ capacity to harm civilians, she condemned the group’s cross-border attacks against the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

The Russian Federation’s representative, while expressing support for the resolution’s adoption, emphasized that restrictive measures should not lead to a deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Yemen.

Also speaking were representatives of India, Ireland, Brazil, Kenya, Ghana, China and Albania.

The meeting began at 10:08 a.m. and ended at 10:45 a.m.