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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 October 2018

UAE humanitarian aid to Yemen almost $4bn 

We are there for the long run: Minister of State for International Cooperation 

Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, met with the UN Security Council. Jim Watson / AFP
Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, met with the UN Security Council. Jim Watson / AFP

The UAE’s humanitarian assistance to Yemen is close to $4 billion (Dh14.7bn), Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem Al Hashimy said on Tuesday.

The Arab Coalition – which includes Saudi Arabia and the UAE – intervened in Yemen’s war in 2015 to fight the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels at the request of the internationally-recognised government of Yemeni President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi.

“We are here for the long run. We have been with Yemen, there’s a commitment of almost $4bn in the last three years, since 2015-2018,” Ms Al Hashimy said.

The UAE’s humanitarian campaign, represented by the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC), has stepped up operations since 2017. It has provided 35,000 tonnes of food and supplies, sufficient to aid two million people for a month, she said.

“The (ERC) has been incredibly active in providing aid and, as of yesterday, has already dispatched a team that will help with the distribution of that aid,” she said.

Her comments came a day before the UN envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, is due in the southern city of Aden on Wednesday for a new round of talks with Mr Hadi.

On June 13, the Arab Coalition launched an operation to retake Hodeidah port, a gateway for nearly three quarters of Yemen’s imports. The Houthis have used the port to ship Iranian-supplied weapons into Yemen and profit from illegally sold humanitarian aid.

“We are hopeful and we believe in the political process,” said Ms Al Hashimy. The UAE “cannot imagine a setup where Houthis can be in the city” of Hodeidah.

The UAE has demanded that the rebels withdraw from both the port and city in order to avoid a military assault on the densely populated area.

"We are committed to creating a stable environment to help Yemeni people thrive and reach their potential in terms of employment and health care. There is so much that they are capable of that they deserve and have been robbed of," she said.

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The coalition says it can capture the port without major disruptions to aid supplies or loss of human lives.

“The UAE is part of the Arab Coalition to ensure that we bring stability and prosperity, and bringing the safety of civilian lives is at the forefront of what we need to do,” Ms Al Hashimy said.

The Yemeni government fears the rebels' grip on the city will cut the only lifeline for millions facing starvation.

Meanwhile, Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said on Tuesday that the liberation of Hodeidah was an “essential step” towards a political solution.

He reiterated the UAE’s backing for United Nations-led talks to end the war in Yemen.

“We continue to support the UN-led efforts in Hodeidah and Yemen. A UN/Yemeni-led political process will accelerate with a Houthi decision to withdraw from Hodeidah and avoid a confrontation,” he said.