I would like to join others in expressing our deepest condolences for the natural disaster that has affected your country, Mozambique, as well as Malawi. Our thoughts are with the families affected.
I would also like to thank Special Envoy Hans Grundberg and Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Joyce Msuya for their briefings, but more importantly for their efforts to promote peace and the protection of civilians in Yemen. And finally, I also thank Ambassador Albana Dautllari of Albania for the briefing on the work of the Committee.
The international community gathered in Geneva on February 27th to reaffirm its solidarity with the Yemeni people at a high-level donor conference. In addition to the generosity shown by many states, Switzerland notes the vibrant call of Ms. Naeam Al Kulaidi from the Tamdeen Youth Foundation, who said: "We feel that the world is beginning to forget about us (…).Nothing is more important to Yemen than ending the conflict, so that the population can have a chance to live in safety and dignity”.
After eight years of conflict, there is no time for hesitation: we must respond to these legitimate aspirations without delay. The decision by Saudi Arabia and Iran to re-establish diplomatic relations last week is an important signal for peace and stability in the region, which Switzerland - until now the protecting power for both countries - welcomes. Echoing the appeal made by Ms. Al Kulaidi, Switzerland would like to highlight the following three points.
Firstly, we welcome the commitment of the Sultanate of Oman and Saudi Arabia to the ongoing peace dialogues and urge the parties to engage resolutely to silence the weapons for good. We also note with satisfaction the willingness of the parties to fulfil their obligations under the Stockholm Agreement to release all those detained. In this regard, the current discussions in Switzerland of the Supervisory Committee are a step in the right direction which should be implemented as soon as possible. Furthermore, we call on all parties to exercise restraint and to show full readiness for an intra-Yemeni national dialogue. Indeed, the positive momentum we are witnessing must be reflected in the achievement of an inclusive political settlement under the auspices of the United Nations, with the participation of the whole society. Last week's open debate reminded us that in Yemen, as elsewhere, the inclusion of women in the peace process is essential for a just and equal future.
Secondly, we would like to thank the many countries that have shown their support for the people of Yemen at the donors' conference. This momentum of solidarity must not stop. Some activities remain underfunded, such as water and sanitation and the protection of civilians. This also requires a more sustainable and systemic approach, which goes beyond short-term aid. Despite last week's important and welcome milestone in preventing an oil spill in the Red Sea, the Safer tanker rescue plan requires the continued attention of the entire international community.
Thirdly, the continued restrictions on humanitarian actors, including women, are unacceptable and must be lifted immediately. The economic warfare between the parties to the conflict is having a severe impact on Yemenis who are increasingly dependent on humanitarian aid. Children continue to be among the main victims of mines and explosive remnants of war. Without addressing this problem, no reconstruction work is possible. We therefore urge the authorities and the international community to make mine action a priority. Finally, Switzerland calls on all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and the relevant human rights provisions.
The year 2023 must be the year of change. The truce must be restored and extended to a permanent ceasefire. Time is running out and the civilian population cannot wait any longer.