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Cablegate: Demarche Request On Un Engagement in Yemen

VZCZCXYZ0001
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #3150 2752216
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 022157Z OCT 09
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 8008
INFO RUEHYN/AMEMBASSY SANAA IMMEDIATE 0003
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH IMMEDIATE 3560

UNCLAS STATE 103150

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MCAP MOPS PGOV PHUM YM
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE REQUEST ON UN ENGAGEMENT IN YEMEN

REF: A. SANAA 1690
B. SANAA 1532

THIS MESSAGE IS SENSITIVE, BUT UNCLASSIFIED. PLEASE TREAT
ACCORDINGLY.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. UN Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes
intends to travel to Yemen on/about October 8 to observe UN
agency responses to the Houthi conflict in the northern
Sa'ada province of Yemen. The Department requests that USUN
approach Mr. Holmes in advance of his visit to relay the
importance the U.S. Government places on UN agency activities
in Yemen and our expectation that he will be vocal and
forthright with his assessment of the situation. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) Background: There may be as many as 150,000
internally displaced persons (IDPs), of whom approximately
95,000 were displaced before the latest round of fighting, in
northern Yemen. The number of IDPs may continue to grow.
Access to IDPs is very limited by the fighting and the Yemeni
government itself has been unable to keep open lines of
communication to Sa'ada. The Yemeni and Saudi governments
have reportedly agreed to allow UNHCR to deliver aid and
supplies from Saudi Arabia to IDPs located on the Yemeni side
of the border. The Department is supportive of these efforts
and has lobbied both sides on the UN's behalf. We continue
to call for a ceasefire to the conflict to allow for the
delivery of humanitarian supplies and for both sides to
respect their international obligations to protect civilians
and relief workers.

3. (SBU) Background continued: There is limited press
reporting due to the insecurity in the conflict zone, and the
U.S. government is concerned that the Yemeni government will
take the limited attention as license to continue its war
efforts without respect for protecting the civilian and IDP
population.

4. (SBU) Begin Talking Points:

-- The U.S. government is deeply concerned by the
deteriorating situation in northern Yemen. The ferocity of
the conflict and remoteness of the region endangers the
civilian population and complicates access for humanitarian
assistance. The lack of information means it is difficult to
ascertain the conditions of vulnerable populations.

-- Your visit provides the first opportunity since the sixth
round of fighting began August 12 to highlight the UN,s
concerns about the Sa,ada war and bring its worrisome
humanitarian dimensions and destabilizing potential to the
attention of the international community.

-- We are eager to see the UN take greater efforts to make
public the humanitarian impact of the conflict and to push
the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels to create the
conditions for safe passage of humanitarian goods and workers
to enter into the conflict zone.

-- Should you assess the situation to be critical, a public
statement of concern from the UN regarding the growing
humanitarian crisis and a call for both parties to cease
hostilities and return to the principles of the Doha
Agreement as a basis for bringing the conflict to an end
would help us pressure the Yemeni government to seek a
lasting ceasefire and to address some regional grievances
through dialogue.

-- Should you be interested, our Embassy in Sana'a is
available to brief you on our assessment of the situation in
greater detail.

-- We would also appreciate your frank assessment of the
situation upon your return.

End Text.

---------------------
Reporting Requirement
---------------------

5. (SBU) USUN is requested to report the results of its
efforts no later than October 7, 2009. Please slug all
responses for NEA/ARP (Andrew MacDonald, NEA/ARP,
202-647-6558, MacDonaldAT@State.gov) and PRM/ANE (Rebecca
Schaeffer, PRM/ANE, 202-663-1043, SchaefferRR@State.gov).
CLINTON

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