In Berlin Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement on the talks on Yemen beginning in Geneva today (16 June):
That the parties to the conflict in Yemen are now for the first time holding talks in Geneva, headed by UN Special Envoy Ould Cheikh Ahmed, gives cause for hope that initiating talks could “lead to the conflict being resolved peacefully”. The fact that these talks are taking place at all is an initial small step of progress. The chances offered by this dialogue must be seized now. It is clear to everyone that the conflict can only be resolved by political means. Germany has already been supporting these efforts for some time and we will continue to do so.
A ceasefire during Ramadan, as proposed by Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, is the right way to ensure that the population can be provided with urgently needed humanitarian assistance and to open up the path to further negotiations.
In light of the persistently high number of civilian victims, both conflict parties must do everything possible to respect the rules of international humanitarian law and uphold the principle of proportionality.