Early Thursday morning the Security Council received a threat concerning a hostage-taking by the Houthis, one of the parties involved in the Yemen War. Prior to that in their first committee session, the committee had intensely debated about finding an end to the war in the region. This unforeseen crisis made the topic and finding a solution even more urgent!
Because the delegation of the United States of America and the United Arab Emirates were actively threatened by the Houthis, the delegates were no longer safe at their venue. Therefore, the entire committee had to be evacuated with a column of eight vehicles including police and an ambulance.
After arriving at the safe venue, the President of the General Assembly and the Deputy President of the GA explained the situation and showed a video they received of a hostage in great danger, filmed by the Houthis.
The delegates were under great pressure to deal with the situation, try to restore peace and work out a resolution by midday. Due to this unforeseen crisis, the resolution they had previously worked on became obsolete. The session again started with policy statements, among them an emotional speech by the delegation of the United Arab Emirates, emphasizing the importance to stop the Houthis. The United States on the other hand strongly argued for a ceasefire in order to assure further negotiation between the Houthis and South Arabia. However, the Russian Federation used its veto right to object to the passing of an important amendment. That led to an intense discussion between the Russian Federation and the United States.
The United States of America were the main submitter of the new resolution, in which it was demanded that the Houthis attend a political negotiation. In exchange, Saudi Arabia would stop the attack on the region and would release the majority of hostages. These points were deemed necessary to be able to act on the issue since the Houthis specifically desired the commitment to bilateral agreements or ceasefires as well as to end the poverty and suffering of the non-combatants from the continuous attacks in the area as soon as possible.
The resolution also included the demand that all parties involved in the conflict are to immediately end all armed disputes. All parties are called upon to arrange the negotiation of a peace treaty, which should contain respect for the different cultural divisions and the different perspectives, having peace talks on neutral ground and assuring the safety and well-being of the hostages held by the Houthis and other parties of the conflict.
Moreover, the delegations agreed on establishing a committee for peace talks under the observation of related UN branches, including every politically or militarily involved state. The main aim of that committee will be to talk about the current internationally recognized administration and the problems that led to this conflict such as economic corruption, high rates of unemployment, damaged infrastructure of the country and the complaints about Sunni-Salefi belief. In the process, they hope to find common ground and can decide on a formal agreement to politically stabilize the country.
In the end, the Russian Federation almost cancelled the last point of the resolution by objecting to an amendment, which led to a lot of frustration among the other delegations regarding the limited time frame.
Eventually, however, despite the unexpected and stressful situation as well as the time pressure, the delegates managed to draft a resolution that tried to resolve the problems in the Yemen War and in the region. The gravity of the work and resolution was especially intensified by the ongoing crisis. The delegates handled the intense challenge professionally and committed with great effort and solidarity to the new situation. Thus, it demonstrates that with a common understanding of communication and teamwork, constructive and purposeful debates, and the ability to make compromises conflicts can be resolved.
It was a very challenging day for the members of the Security Council but also a quite unique and memorable experience for everyone participating.