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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 November 2018

Britain commits to leading fresh action on Yemen at UN Security Council

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has already discussed the prospect of action with the UN special envoy Martin Griffiths

Yemeni government forces take part in battles at the port city of Hodeidah. EPA
Yemeni government forces take part in battles at the port city of Hodeidah. EPA

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt will announce on Monday that the UK is discussing with UN Security Council partners what more they can do to address the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and step up support for the work of the UN special envoy Martin Griffiths.

Mr Hunt has already discussed this step with Mr Griffiths and they had agreed that the time was right for the council to work together to bolster the UN led process.

As the Minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt, the foreign secretary, and Prime Minister Theresa May made clear last week, a nationwide ceasefire in Yemen will only have an effect on the ground if it is underpinned by a political deal between the conflict parties, the Houthis and the legitimate government of Yemen.

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The action that the UK plans to take forward at the UN Security Council will help towards that goal, the foreign office said, hopefully ensuring that a full ceasefire, when it comes, is fully implemented.

Mr Hunt said: “For too long in the Yemen conflict both sides have believed a military solution is possible with catastrophic consequences for the people. Now for the first time there appears to be a window in which both sides can be encouraged to come to the table, stop the killing and find a political solution that is the only long-term way out of disaster.

“The UK will use all its influence to push for such an approach. I met UN special envoy Martin Griffiths on Tuesday, and there is a small but real chance that a cessation of hostilities could alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people. This must be the first priority as we seek to put in place a longer-term solution.”