Yemen FM, UN chief seek peace talks with Houthis

Yemen FM, UN chief seek peace talks with Houthis
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UN head Antonio Guterres noted that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have “generously provided” $930 million toward the humanitarian response plan already this year. (Reuters)
Yemen FM, UN chief seek peace talks with Houthis
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General supervisor of the King Salman Centre for Relief and Humanitarian Affairs of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah Al-Rabeeah. (AFP)
Updated 04 April 2018

Yemen FM, UN chief seek peace talks with Houthis

Yemen FM, UN chief seek peace talks with Houthis
  • UN chief Antonio Guterres urged all sides to reach a political solution to the conflict in Yemen
  • Guterres noted that KSA and the UAE ‘generously provided’ $930 million toward effort

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the warring sides in Yemen on Tuesday to reach a political settlement to end a four-year-old conflict that has left 22 million people in urgent need of aid.
Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdel-Malek Al-Mekhlafi echoed the call for a return to the negotiating table and said that his internationally recognized government was working to open ports and airports to humanitarian aid.
Guterres joined top officials from dozens of countries at a pledging conference for war-battered Yemen.
Sweden and Switzerland joined the UN in hosting the daylong event that aimed to drum up funds toward a $2.96 billion UN appeal to provide assistance and protection to people in Yemen.
The conference raised more than $2 billion. Guterres hailed the donor conference as a “remarkable success.”
Guterres told reporters that in addition to the $2 billion already committed, multiple countries had promised more donations in the coming months, leaving him “optimistic that we will be able to reach the level that corresponds to the needs.”
“A negotiated political settlement through inclusive intra-Yemeni dialogue is the only solution. I urge all parties to engage with my new Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths, without delay,” Guterres told the one-day conference.
“All ports must remain open to humanitarian and commercial cargo, the medicines, food and the fuel needed to deliver them. Sanaa airport is also a lifeline that must be kept open,” he said.
In opening remarks, Guterres decried a “catastrophic” situation in Yemen, pointing out that a child below 5 dies every 10 minutes from preventable causes, and 8.4 million people do not know how they will obtain their next meal. Many face the threat of starvation.

 
 
His three-part message focused on the need for funding and humanitarian access to the needy.
“My final message is possibly the most important of all. We must see action to end the conflict,” said Guterres. “This war is causing enormous human suffering to some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world.”
Guterres noted that Saudi Arabia and the UAE — who have been actively participating in the conflict in a bid to help Yemen’s government — have “generously provided” $930 million toward the humanitarian response plan already this year. 
He said other donors had already contributed some $293 million, meaning that 40 percent of the target for the year has already been met.
Al-Mekhlafi said: “We need to find the ideal solution which is a return to the talks table, to put an end the war, to return to a sustainable system supported by the people of Yemen, including the putschist parties and those supported by the international community.”
The country’s unity and territorial integrity must be preserved, he added.
“It is a war that should end, so we need a cease-fire; we need peace talks, we need an end to the embargo on many of Yemen’s ports,” Jan Egeland, secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, told Reuters.

(With Reuters, AFP, AP)

FASTFACTS

How much was raised?

The conference raised more than $2 billion for the people of Yemen.