Yemen

Thank you for writing to me about the current crisis 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. The UK supports the Saudi-led campaign to restore the legitimate Government in Yemen. This is a campaign that has the backing of both the legitimate President of Yemen as well as the United Nations. Ultimately, a political solution is the best way to bring long-term stability to Yemen and end the conflict. We need to build resilience and protect key institutions to help lay the foundations for post-conflict recovery.

I can assure you that the Government fully recognises the severity of the humanitarian crisis and I am pleased it is working in Yemen to address the urgent humanitarian needs and support an effective international humanitarian response. Ministers have more than doubled our humanitarian funding to Yemen over the last year, making the UK the fourth largest donor to the humanitarian crisis. The UK has committed £770 million since the start of the four-year conflict, £200 million of which was announced in February by the Prime Minister for new UK aid to help millions of people at risk of starvation in Yemen. This additional aid will provide vital food assistance right across the country to those most at risk of dying from starvation and disease, meeting the immediate food needs of more than 1 million Yemenis each month over the year, treating 30,000 children for malnutrition and providing over 1 million people with improved water supply and basic sanitation. 

The UK has been consistently clear with all sides to the conflict in Yemen about the importance of compliance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law. The UK operates one of the most rigorous and transparent export control regimes in the world, and all export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Risks around human rights violations are a key part of this assessment. The UK Government does not export equipment where it assesses there is a clear risk that it might be used for internal repression, that it might provoke or prolong conflict within a country, or where it may be used aggressively against another country.

There can be no military solution to this conflict. A political settlement is the only way to provide long term stability to Yemen and address the worsening humanitarian crisis; and I know that Ministers are encouraging further constructive engagement from both parties to achieve this.

The Foreign Secretary recently hosted a meeting of the Quad nations in London. At the meeting, the Quad nations (the UK, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and the US) underlined their commitment to a comprehensive political solution for the conflict in Yemen and endorsed the agreements reached in Stockholm at the end of last year. 

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.