Atmosphere is not conducive to sustaining agreements about Yemen: Falk

TEHRAN, Dec. 23 (MNA) – Richard Anderson Falk, professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University says “the opening of the port cities of Al Hudaydah and Sanaa, both covered by the Stockholm Agreement, handle up to 80% of humanitarian imports of food and medicine.”

“At this point, according to the most reliable international sources, 17.8 million Yemenis out of a population of 22.2 million are on the brink of starvation,” Falk added.

In an interview with the Tehran Times, the former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said “it is likely that on the Saudi side, especially in the aftermath of the Khashoggi murder there was a serious concern about being blamed for another major humanitarian catastrophe if the ports remained closed.”


Following is the full text of the interview:

Stockholm talks in Sweden led to a cease-fire agreement in Al Hudaydah and other agreements. What do you think about these agreements?

The atmosphere is not conducive to sustaining agreements as there are apparently various militia factions on the government side that might seek to disrupt the agreement, and there have been some worrisome incidents along these lines.

At the same time, from a humanitarian perspective, it is crucial to upholding even this partial mitigation of the suffering of the Yemeni people. The opening of the port cities of Al Hudaydah and Sanaa, both covered by the Stockholm Agreement, handle up to 80% of humanitarian imports of food and medicine. At this point, according to the most reliable international sources, 17.8 million Yemenis out of a population of 22.2 million are on the brink of starvation.

Will this agreement lead to an agreement on the Sana'a airport and brings an end to this horrible war?

It is difficult to predict with any confidence any development with respect to Yemen, but if the Stockholm Agreement holds up, then there is an expectation that the same humanitarian arguments would lead to the reopening of the Sana Airport in the very near future.

What made the countries involved in the Yemen war come to the negotiating table?

Again, it is difficult to say as governments in situations of this kind do not reveal in public disclosure their real motivations. It is likely that on the Saudi side, especially in the aftermath of the Khashoggi murder there was a serious concern about being blamed for another major humanitarian catastrophe if the ports remained closed. For similar reasons, Washington may have exerted pressure to negotiate at this point with the central aim of reducing regional tensions. Such speculation gains credibility when the account is taken of the recent US Senate anti-Trump move to oppose further funding and involvement in the Yemen War.

Regarding repeated war crimes of the Saudi coalition in Yemen, will the United Nations and the International Criminal Court review this matter?

The answer here depends on the political context, and whether the war can be brought to a rapid end by diplomacy. If this is done there may be considerable pressure on the various interested parties to refrain from any initiative that would revive hostile reactions and mutual recriminations. The answer may also be linked indirectly to whether war crimes allegations are brought before the UN and ICC with respect to the Syrian War, especially in relation to the criminal policies and practices attributed to the Assad regime.

Interview by: Javad Heirannia

MNA/TT

News Code 140796

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