Humanitarian aid is important for alleviating the immediate hardship of the people in Yemen. However, the only way to permanently end the suffering of the civilian population is through a political agreement. On Tuesday (16 May), Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel met with Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed bin Dagher in Berlin to discuss ways of finding a political solution to the conflict.
A desperate situation
The rapid spread of cholera in Yemen has already claimed far more than 100 lives. The Foreign Minister expressed his concern about the situation prior to his meeting with bin Dagher: “The people of Yemen are in a desperate situation. They face the threats of hunger, disease – for example, the current cholera outbreak – and, all too often, ongoing fighting.” It was therefore right to increase Germany’s humanitarian aid for Yemen in 2017 to 125 million euros. This makes Germany the country’s third‑largest donor. “As essential as our aid is for the survival of the people in Yemen, it is also clear that the solution cannot be to accept the armed conflict and thereby limit our efforts to humanitarian aid.”
Willing to mediate
However, there is barely any sign of progress in the political process. “We must continue to actively seek both political solutions and possibilities for compromise. This is the only way to enable a return to the negotiation process,” Foreign Minister Gabriel said before the meeting. He went on to say that Germany is prepared to assume an active role as part of the effort to initiate a political process at the negotiation table. The Foreign Minister called on all parties to the conflict to do their part towards solving the deep intra‑Yemeni conflict. They have a responsibility, he said, in the interest of those who are suffering in Yemen, to stop playing for time and “immediately cease all hostilities. Considering the dreadful situation and that the international humanitarian community has shown solidarity for, and willingness to help, Yemen, we have very clear expectations in this regard.
Berlin talks on the conflict in Yemen
Since Sunday, around a dozen high‑level representatives of Yemeni parties and groups, as well as, for the first time, representatives from the region, have been participating in a dialogue in Berlin. These talks are meant to underpin the efforts of UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who met with Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on 16 March. “We strongly support the mediation efforts of the UN Special Envoy.”