Yemen (Coronavirus)

Thank you for contacting me about the war in Yemen.

I share your concerns regarding the crisis in Yemen and the plight of the Yemeni people who are caught up in the conflict. That is why I am proud that the UK is leading the international community to do more to respond to the crisis in Yemen. 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 have been assured that the UK is not a party to the military conflict as part of the Saudi-led coalition. On the point about arms sales, until the Government retakes export license decisions in line with the Court of Appeal’s judgement, or a successful appeal against the judgement concludes, the Government is under an obligation not to grant any new licences to export items to Saudi Arabia for possible use in the conflict in Yemen.

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. I welcome the unilateral ceasefire announced by Saudi Arabia on 8 April, which 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 hope for a positive resolution.

Before the Coronavirus pandemic began, Yemen has faced the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. Over 80 per cent of the population require some form of assistance in Yemen and 20 million people lack access to adequate medical care, with nearly a quarter of Yemen’s districts having no doctors, and only half of the country’s health facilities still functional. It is incredibly concerning that the World Health Organisation’s “optimistic” estimate is that over an 18-month period there will be 16 million Coronavirus cases, and the death toll will increase if access for health workers and aid agencies remains restricted. Now, more than ever before, we are doing all we can to support the Yemeni people.

That is why I welcome the 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.

I am proud that the UK is leading the international community to do more to respond to the crisis in Yemen. 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.

Ultimately, only a political settlement can bring long-term stability to Yemen and tackle the worsening humanitarian crisis and I urge Yemeni leaders to agree to the UN Special Envoy’s peace plan.

Thank you again for contacting me. If you would like to stay up to date with the latest information from me, you can sign up to my e-newsletter here.