Many thanks to those who have contacted me about the situation in Yemen.
I share your concerns about the current grave situation in Yemen. Before the coronavirus pandemic began, Yemen faced the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. Now, more than ever before, we must do all we can to support the Yemeni people.
I am proud the UK is leading the international community to do more to respond to the crisis in Yemen. There is a new package of UK aid, worth £160 million, to help fight coronavirus and address the ongoing humanitarian crisis. It is expected that this package will provide over 700,000 medical consultations, train 12,000 healthcare workers to work safely in a covid-19 environment, and provide a much-needed boost to nearly 4,000 health centres to continue providing existing health services. Since the conflict began, the UK has committed £970 million of funding, which has helped meet the immediate food needs of millions of Yemenis, treated thousands of children for malnutrition and provided over one million people with improved water supply and basic sanitation.
The UK’s long-standing position on Yemen is that there is no military solution to this conflict, and only a political settlement can bring long-term stability to Yemen and tackle the worsening humanitarian crisis. I understand your concerns over the supply of arms to UK allies that are also part of the Saudi-led coalition. Arms sales are constantly reviewed in the light of the UK’s diplomatic and development ambitions.
The UK has been at the forefront of international efforts to bring a peaceful solution to the appalling conflict in Yemen, fully supporting the efforts of the UN Secretary-General and the UN Special Envoy’s peace plan. In April a unilateral ceasefire was announced by Saudi Arabia. This ceasefire has been extended, and it is more important than ever that all parties seize this opportunity for progress in Yemen. I will of course follow developments closely, and will bear in mind your suggestions for how to ensure peace talks are inclusive, and that aid agencies get proper access to people in need.