Middle East, Europe

Germany concerned over Yemen humanitarian situation

Berlin P5+4 meeting next week to focus on UN cease-fire efforts in Yemen, official says

Oliver Towfigh Nia   | 09.04.2021
Germany concerned over Yemen humanitarian situation

BERLIN

The German government on Friday expressed deep concern over the ongoing humanitarian situation in Yemen ahead of next week’s high-profile international meeting in Berlin aimed at restoring a comprehensive cease-fire in the war-torn country.

Speaking at a news conference in the German capital, Foreign Ministry's deputy spokesman Christofer Burger said: “The humanitarian situation in Yemen remains extremely worrying.”

Pointing to international efforts to mediate in the Yemen conflict, Burger said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas plans to meet on Monday with UN special envoy for Yemen Martin Griffith and US special envoy for Yemen Timothy Lenderking in Berlin.

The meeting is to focus on “efforts of the UN for a nationwide ceasefire and trust-building measures between the conflicting parties and a return to the political process” in Yemen, Burger added.

Following the meeting with the minister, the two special envoys will take part in a virtual meeting of high-ranking government officials in the P5 plus 4 format (five UN veto powers plus Germany, Sweden, Kuwait, and the EU).

Referring to the recent offer of negotiation from the Saudi government as well as corresponding reactions from the Houthi rebels, Burger said this showed that there was “definitely room for diplomatic initiatives.”

“Nevertheless, the situation is still very difficult and there will have to be a diplomatic show of strength by the international community in order to get the extremely stalled fronts in motion,” the German diplomat added.

Yemen is the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, with more than 24 million people – some 80 percent of the population – in need of humanitarian assistance, including more than 12 million children.

Now, with COVID-19 spreading, Yemen is facing an emergency within an emergency. Sanitation and clean water are in short supply.

Only half of the health facilities are functioning, and many that remain operational lack basic equipment like masks and gloves, let alone oxygen and other essential supplies to treat the coronavirus.

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