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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Arab foreign ministers in London commit to safeguarding humanitarian access to Yemen

Safe, rapid and unhindered access for goods and for humanitarian personnel throughout Yemen was seen as a shared responsibility 

Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir attended the meeting of the ‘Quint’ in London. AFP/Khaled Desouki
Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir attended the meeting of the ‘Quint’ in London. AFP/Khaled Desouki

A communique from a London summit of Arab foreign ministers, the UN, US and UK has given an undertaking of shared responsibility for humanitarian access to Yemen as participants agreed a new push for a political resolution to the conflict.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, joined other Arab foreign ministers in London for the meeting to discuss a political solution to the conflict in Yemen.

The meeting, known as the ‘Quint’, was hosted by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and attended by Adel Al Jubeir, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Omani Foreign Minister, Ismail Ould Sheikh Ahmed, UN Special Envoy for Yemen, and Thomas Shannon, US Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs.

The joint statement issued after the international meeting also strongly condemned the November 4 rocket attack on Riyadh which deliberately targeted a civilian area, expressing full support for Saudi Arabia’s right to self-defence and pledged support for a UN investigation into the attack.

“Ministers agreed that there was a shared responsibility among all parties to ensure safe, rapid and unhindered access for goods and for humanitarian personnel throughout Yemen,” the communique said. “Ministers discussed ways of enhancing inspection mechanisms to prevent weapons smuggling into Yemen, while ensuring unimpeded movement of goods into and throughout Yemen.”

The statement stressed that the launch of ballistic missiles by Houthis militias against Riyadh was both a threat to regional security and had prolonged the conflict.

"The provision of weapons to the Houthis and those allied to ousted-president Ali Abdullah Saleh violates Security Council resolutions 2216 and 2231," the statement said, expressing the international community's support for UN efforts to investigate the source of the missiles and taking appropriate action. The statement added that the meeting discussed ways to strengthen inspection mechanisms to prevent arms smuggling to Yemen.

The statement pointed to the importance of redoubling efforts to reach a political solution, which remains the only option to end the conflict and address security threats to Yemen's neighbours.

The statement added the meeting concluded that all parties should show flexibility and abandon preconditions with the importance of the commitment of the Houthis and their allies to involve the UN special envoy in the political process. “Ministers backed a redoubling of efforts to reach a political solution which remains the only route to ending the conflict and addressing security threats to Yemen’s neighbours,” it concluded. “The ministers agreed that this urgent issue would necessitate them meeting and consulting regularly to coordinate approaches and identify concrete steps leading to a political settlement.”

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