عربي

Speech by Mrs. Tawakkol Karman at Rome MED 2019 Conference – Italy

After five years of pain, tragedies, bloodshed, cities’ devastation, livelihood crisis, unpaid salaries and collapse of public services, my compatriots are deeply convinced that the senseless war in their country must stop.

Five years of conducting the war on Yemen. Five years of criminal misuse of the war in Yemen by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Iran within the context of the regional conflict. The longer the war exists, the more it is in the interest of putschist and separatist militias and the Saudi guardianship coalition.

This war causing harm to Yemen and paralyzing the life of Yemenis has been used to consolidate the Houthi coup in Sana'a and added another coup led by the separatists in Aden. Moreover, it has made the Saudi guardianship over Yemen an alternative reference to the Yemeni legitimacy, international legitimacy and UN Security Council resolutions.

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.

It is time for peace and an end to war. But the desired peace is not the one that is presented as an instrument in the hands of Saudi Arabia, the Houthis and the separatists, but rather the one that gets Yemen out of the foreign guardianship and militias.

Saudi Arabia is only seeking to reposition itself with the aim of conducting the war through local tools that have been prepared over the past five years, and lying to the international community that it is no longer responsible for the war in Yemen. Such a peace would only be a tool to legitimize the de-facto authorities, the Saudi-Emirati guardianship and occupation of large parts of Yemen, which includes coastlines, seaports, islands and areas rich in oil and gas.

The pathway to real peace begins with a dialogue that brings together the forces inside Yemen under the supervision of the United Nations and the Security Council and in accordance with national and international references and with the participation of representatives of Yemeni legitimacy and putschists. Bilateral agreements such as Riyadh agreement between the legitimate government and separatists and secret talks between Saudi Arabia and the Houthis are only deals that satisfy the ambitions of foreign and dissident parties and do not achieve the desired peace even if it results in a temporary truce.

Yemen needs to end the war and build a solid peace process that puts an end to the multiplicity of de facto authorities, ends the foreign guardianship over Yemen and opens a broad dialogue enabling Yemenis to restore consensus and agree to complete the political transition process under the roof of the Yemeni state. We need to activate international efforts to bring peace to Yemen.

Saudi Arabia and Iran care about nothing but their interests, and their direct and indirect interventions served as a catalyst for their conflict whose battlefield was relocated  to Yemen. Any peace achieved based on interests of Riyadh and Teheran and not on the interests of Yemen will be a peace of make-believe that prolongs the war.

Therefore, we stress the importance of the UN role in any talks and of the participation of major powers plus the European Union in the efforts to bring peace to Yemen, end the war and complete the political transition process in a way that preserves Yemen's unity, security and stability.

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

On September 21, 2014, the state was toppled by the Houthi militia, following widespread collusion driven by various motives. The hidden main actor represented the center of the counter-revolution in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, with aim of thwarting Yemen’s Arab spring, resulting in bringing Yemen back to square one and enabling the Houthis to take over the capital and state institutions. This group does not believe in democracy nor in the modern legitimacy of the state.

It was clear that Saudi Arabia and the Emirates have served as the center of the counterrevolutions, and are keen to steer Yemen towards a model that should not be tempting to the Gulf neighborhood, which went into panic owing to popular uprisings, democracy and the peaceful transfer of power.

The coup and its takeover of state institutions, the capital and some governorates served as an open gate through which the Saudi-Emirati coalition with its destructive agenda passed. This agenda has become fully clear over the past five years of war.

As expected, the UN Security Council resolutions emphasized the security, stability and unity of Yemen, as well as the legitimacy that represents the state and the Republic of Yemen as a reference for its decisions, especially Resolution 2216.

However, the coalition made the UN resolution on Yemen a misleading title and deviated from everything related to the recognition of legitimacy, the restoration of the state and the end of the coup.

We would add nothing if we also draw attention to the separatist and Salafi armed formations supported by the Saudi-led coalition in the face of the legitimacy in the south and Taiz, and not in the face of the Houthi putschists.

The coalition has done its best to make the separatist southern Transitional Council a de facto authority in Aden. To date, this coalition keeps preventing the legitimate government from operation of airports and ports and from exporting  oil and gas, despite the Riyadh agreement marketed last October.

The continuation of the existing conditions in Yemen means that the coalition will continue with the conduct of war and chaos and with its guardianship over Yemen. The call to stop the war and for peace means the end of guardianship and the return of the state.

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. Peace for us as Yemenis means a political settlement that will lead to the return of the state to the liberated areas and to those controlled by the putschists alike.

In order to end guardianship, disarm the militias and restore the state in accordance with a political agreement that preserves the legitimacy of the Republic of Yemen and prepares Yemen to complete the political transition process and implement the outcomes of the national dialogue, Yemenis have no choice but peace.

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.

We believe that a sincere orientation towards ending the war and restoring peace in Yemen depends on a genuine will on the part of the major powers and the international community.

There is an urgent need for an international support and real and decisive pressure by the United Nations and major powers to bring peace, end violence, disarm militias, return the state, and complete the political transition.

Peace requires exerting pressure on the Saudi-Emirati guardianship coalition, which has used its support for the legitimacy just as a cover to destroy Yemen, encourage militias, divide Yemen, seize control over ports, coasts and oil and gas installations and impose guardianship over the Yemeni president and the Yemeni government after bringing their legitimacy to its weakest level by imposing isolation on it and forcing it escape from Aden and the liberated provinces in favour of separatist militias backed by it.

We look forward to peace; a peace that opens the way for Yemen to freedom from the rule of coup militias, freedom from Saudi guardianship and Emirati occupation, and to a political settlement that enables Yemenis to bring back their state and republic and security and stability of their country.

We will never tire of raising our voices and struggling to free our country and people from this tragedy. There would not be humanity in this world unless we see it in that forgotten part of the region, which has been left to the merchants of death, weapons, wars and destruction, who come from within and from its neighboring states linked to merciless international interests that pay no attention to human standards, humanism and humanity.