Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is opening the High Level Strategic Dialogue on the Peace Process and Prospects for Stabilisation in Yemen today (16 January). Germany is supporting the efforts of UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths in this regard. In addition to Griffiths, the Resident Coordinator of the UN in Yemen Lise Grande as well as international donors and senior officials from the region are also taking part in the discussions. Maas emphasised the following prior to the event:
“It is important now to seize this small but real window of opportunity. We must work to make the international community’s support for the upcoming process as constructive and strong as possible.”
A specific focus is on how the implementation of the confidence building measures agreed between the conflict parties in Stockholm in December 2018 can be supported. If this meets with success, further rounds of talks can be held, which can then be consolidated into an urgently needed peace process. Germany is bringing key players together in Berlin to this end.
As early as December, the Federal Government, together with Lise Grande, established a fund to actively support the implementation of the agreements in the region. The further development and involvement of the international community in this fund will also be on the agenda in Berlin. Germany provided 2.5 million euros of seed funding at the end of 2018, and a further two million euros have been pledged for 2019.
A leading role in the United Nations
The talks are focusing on the situation in the Yemeni port city of Hudaydah. The ceasefire agreed in December for the Hudaydah region facilitates imports of aid and trade goods to Yemen. This is a key prerequisite for urgently needed humanitarian aid. The observance of the ceasefire and the processing of imports of goods is set to be monitored by a UN mission in the future.
At the conference and within the framework of its membership of the UN Security Council, Germany is committed to supporting the leading role played by UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths in the implementation of the agreements reached and in the ongoing political process. A first step in this direction was taken in the form of Resolution 2451, which was adopted by the Security Council in December. The Security Council will address Yemen and the future UN mission in Hudaydah once again this week.
Humanitarian crisis not averted
Although the situation in Hudaydah constitutes an initial ray of hope in the Yemen conflict, hostilities continue unabated in other parts of the country. The humanitarian situation therefore continues to deteriorate. Of Yemen’s 29 million inhabitants, 22 million require humanitarian aid. Twenty million people are suffering from food insecurity and 12 million people do not know where they will get their next meal from, including many children. There is a lack of access to basic health care, clean water, safe housing and education. Security risks as a result of hostilities, increasing restrictions to access and attacks on civilians, civilian infrastructure and humanitarian aid workers and administrative restrictions are making it more difficult for this urgently needed aid to get through.