عربي

Speech by Mrs. Tawakkol Karman at Peace Prize Forum 2019 - Oslo

Dear friends,For over four and a half years, Yemen has been suffering from more than a war. This has exacerbated the humanitarian situation, leading to dire economic and political repercussions that have plunged the country into a terrifying vicious circle under a suspicious silence and indifference by the international community. To date, unfortunately, there are no real indications of an international will to stop the war and address its causes.

From the very beginning, this war has been a project of the forces hostile to the Yemeni state, beginning with the coup by the Houthi militias on 21 September 2014 and its takeover of the capital Sanaa and state institutions and ending with the Saudi-UAE coalition (Operation Decisive Storm) and its military intervention on 26 March 2015, which has targeted everything  in Yemen.

Within four and a half years of the war, state institutions were destroyed, investment had been made in militias, citizens were subjected to starvation, brutalization and indifference.

Residential areas have been heavy shelled by the Saudi-Emirati coalition that used the restoration of legitimacy and the end of the coup as a cover to devastate Yemen, support the militias and adopt the policy of divide and rule with the aim to take over Yemeni ports and coasts.

Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have brought Yemen to the weakest state, imposing guardianship and isolation on the Yemeni transitional president and his government so that neither the president nor the government are able to return to the liberated areas because of militias backed by the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

During four and a half years of the coup, the Houthi militia has turned the areas under its control into a large prison, adopting a repressive policy towards their opponents and even towards those “who are different” and imposing unbearable royalties on small and major traders, even on ordinary citizens.

For four and a half years, the de facto authorities represented by Houthis, Saudis and Emiratis have imposed severe restrictions on the work of civil society organizations and activists, journalists and politicians who are first subject to demonization and then to imprisonment and torture.     

Dear friends,
In order for the words war and peace to make sense, we need to clarify what has been going on within this poor country afflicted by militias in North and South and by neighbors rich in oil, who see in its revolution, democracy and stability a challenge to them and their desert-based kingdoms.

Dear friends,
This non-sense war on Yemen must stop ... not only for Yemen and human security there, but also for regional and international peace and security. Yemen enjoys a very important geopolitical location, overlooking one of the world’s most vital marine roads, the Bab al-Mandab Strait.

Having a stable, independent and strong Yemen will be definitely of the interest of the Mediterranean countries and vice versa.

Most of the goods exported to or imported from the Mediterranean countries pass through the Strait of Bab al-Mandab controlled by Yemen.

In light of serious international issues like piracy, terrorism and refugees, the world trade will remain at risk unless stability is brought to Yemen.

When we talk about peace, what kind of peace do we mean?
Yemenis are looking for a sustainable peace and not for pseudo-peace that only meets needs and interests of putschists and foreign parties without  taking into account the interest of Yemen and finding appropriate solutions to the causes of the war and its consequences.

Saudi Arabia continues with the policy of chaos and “divide and rule”. It therefore rejects peace and seeks to unilaterally make deals with parties to the internal conflict while continuing to make best use of the card of the legitimacy that is under house arrest in Riyadh.

With the news of secret talks between Saudi Arabia and the Houthis leaking to the public and with both parties entering into talks to look for deals that exempt them from peace entitlements, the silent majority of Yemenis find themselves needing the support of the international community to get Yemen out of this vicious circle: a futile chaos-based war of the Saudi-Emirati coalition that creates and supports militias to divide Yemen; there are some peace chances, but outside  forces represented by the Saudi-Emirati coalition along with the coup militias do their best to manipulate their outcomes by isolating the Yemeni issue from the international community and liquidating the Yemeni legitimacy through fragmented agreements exploited by Riyadh and Abu Dhabi to clear their name before the international community and at the same time keep the de facto authorities continue to exist without addressing the causes of the war, which must to be dealt with in any peace agreement in Yemen.

Such a peace would only serve as a tool to legitimize the de-facto powers and the Saudi-Emirati occupation of Yemeni large parts including coastlines, seaports, islands and areas rich in oil and gas resources.

We believe that a sincere orientation towards ending the war and restoring peace in Yemen starts with a genuine will on the part of major powers, the United Nations and the international community to achieve a sustainable peace in Yemen.

For us Yemenis, true and sustainable peace means ending the Saudi-Emirati occupation and guardianship in Yemen.

for us Yemenis, peace means stopping the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia and the UAE and preventing all forms of Iranian support for the Houthis.

Peace means disarming all militias, and that only the state has the exclusive right to own weapons.

 For us Yemenis, peace means the initial return of the Yemeni state to the areas not controlled by the Houthis, and opening a broad dialogue that enables Yemenis to rebuild consensus to complete the political transition in a manner that preserves the Republic of Yemen and the unity and territorial of its national territory and helps implement the outcomes of the national dialogue, especially including the referendum on the draft constitution and various elections.

Finally, I would like to emphasize that the war in Yemen is part of a strategy led by counter-revolutionary countries to punish Yemenis for their peaceful revolution in 2011.

The counter-revolution stronghold in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi was driven by a burning desire to thwart the Yemen Spring, make Yemen be back to square one and lead it towards a model being not attractive for the GCC neighbors who have an obsessive fear of popular uprisings, democracy and the peaceful transfer of power.

At the end of my speech, I would like to emphasize that our people, despite the cruelty of war, still have an unwavering will and determination to overcome the effects of this devastating war. Yes, we need the free world’s help and support, but if we do not get it, we will never give in to local, regional and international warlords. Inevitably, we will win, and Yemen will become again an oasis of freedom, tolerance and action.