Skip to main content

Official speeches and statements - March 12, 2021

Published on March 12, 2021

1. Yemen - Joint Statement of the Governments of France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America on Houthi Attacks (Paris - March 11, 2021)

We, the governments of France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, condemn the sustained Houthi offensive on the Yemeni city of Ma’rib and the major escalation of attacks the Houthis have conducted and claimed against Saudi Arabia. Their determined attack on Ma’rib is worsening an already dire humanitarian crisis.

Our renewed diplomatic efforts to end the Yemen conflict, in support of the UN Special Envoy, with the support of Saudi Arabia, Oman, and the international community, offer the best hope for ending this war. We urge the Houthis to seize this opportunity for peace and end the ongoing escalation.

We reiterate our firm commitment to the security and integrity of Saudi territory, and to restoring stability and calm along the Saudi/Yemeni border. We reaffirm our strong support for a swift resolution of the Yemeni conflict, which will bring much-needed stability to the region and immediate benefit to the people of Yemen.

2. Libya - Statement by the ministers of foreign affairs of France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States of America (Paris - March 11, 2021)

France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States of America welcome the vote of confidence by the overwhelming majority of the members of the House of Representatives meeting in Sirte 8-10 March to endorse the cabinet chosen by Prime Minister-designate Abdulhamid Dabaiba for an interim Government of National Unity.

We applaud the Libyan people for their determination to restore unity to their country. We commend all Libyan actors for constructively participating in and facilitating this vote by a body representing the voices of the Libyan people.

This outcome is a fundamental step on the path towards the unification of Libyan institutions and a comprehensive political solution to a crisis that has tested Libya and its people. Through the Berlin Process, we will continue to support the Libyan people and the UN efforts jointly with our partners.

We appreciate the statement issued by Prime Minister Sarraj welcoming the vote of the House of Representatives and expressing readiness to hand over power, and now call upon all current Libyan authorities and actors to show the same responsibility and ensure a smooth and constructive handover of all competences and duties to the interim Government of National Unity. The new interim executive authority will have the primary tasks of organizing free and fair Presidential and Parliamentary elections on December 24, 2021, followed by a transfer of authority to Libya’s democratically chosen leaders; fully implementing the October 23, 2020 ceasefire agreement; commencing a process of national reconciliation; and addressing the basic needs of the Libyan population.

France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States of America welcome the withdrawal of foreign forces and mercenaries from the area around Ghardabya airport, in order to allow members of the House of Representatives to safely participate in the parliamentary session in Sirte, and praise the work of the Joint Military Commission 5+5 to make this possible. It is important that such a development represent an irreversible step towards the full implementation of the October 23, 2020 ceasefire agreement, including the withdrawal of all foreign fighters and mercenaries from all of Libya.

We express gratitude to the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General for Libya, Jan Kubis, for their tireless efforts to stabilize Libya and ensure stability and prosperity to its people.

3. United Nations - Food security - Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, permanent representative of France to the United Nations, at the Security Council (New York - March 11, 2021)

[translation from French]

Madam President,

I would like to thank the Secretary-General, the Director of Oxfam International and the Executive Director of the World Food Program (WFP) for their briefings.

The figures that have just been shared speak for themselves: the risk of famine and acute food crises is worsening day after day.

Conflicts, climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the resulting economic recession, contribute to the daily rise in the number of people facing severe food crisis. I am thinking here in particular of Yemen, South Sudan and Nigeria. But I am also thinking of the Sahel region, especially Burkina Faso, where the situation remains particularly worrying. I am also thinking of the Tigray region in Ethiopia and the DRC.

This Council has a collective responsibility and a moral obligation to prevent such a tragedy.

Only collective coordinated and integrated action will make it possible to avert humanitarian disasters. States, United Nations agencies, regional and sub-regional organizations, non-governmental organizations, but also the private sector and international financial institutions must be mobilized to reduce the risk of famine and more broadly of food crises.

We must strengthen the prevention and early warning mechanisms to better anticipate, prevent and mitigate the effects of these crises.

It is essential to strengthen national and local production systems and to promote social safety nets that will help the most vulnerable people to meet their food needs. To do so, it is essential to strengthen cooperation between humanitarian and development actors.

France will continue to work towards this, through its bilateral and multilateral support. Our funding of food aid has increased by 51% in two years, to total over 50 million euros in 2020. This figure will continue to grow this year, to total over 72 million euros, which is an increase of 43% compared to last year. The French Development Agency (AFD) has earmarked in 2020 one billion euros in the areas of agriculture, rural development and biodiversity.

We can never say it enough: because conflicts are the main driver of the risk of famine and food crises, it is essential to accelerate the implementation of resolutions 2532 and 2565 on COVID-19, through a ceasefire and a humanitarian pause.

Preventing famine and food crises requires that all parties to the conflicts abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law. It is unacceptable that it is flouted each day. The protection of civilians and civilian infrastructures is critical. The use of starvation against civilians as a method of warfare is a war crime. It should not go unpunished.

France condemns the rise in attacks against humanitarian and medical personnel and the many obstacles that prevent access to people in need. I am thinking in particular of Yemen and the Tigray region, where we are calling for concrete progress on humanitarian access.

While conflict remains the main driver of food crises, we must step up our efforts to find sustainable political solutions to conflicts.

You can count on France’s continued and unwavering support.

I thank you.