Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (13 December) on the talks between the parties to the conflict in Yemen that were held in Johannesburg Castle in Sweden:
Today marks a significant and successful first step, with the conclusion of the first round of UN-sponsored talks between the parties to the conflict in Yemen. For the first time in two and a half years, the parties to the conflict have engaged in direct talks. Their agreement to a ceasefire in Hodeidah and to seek demilitarisation are important steps. The agreed exchange of thousands of prisoners helps build trust between the parties.
This could not have been done without the United Nations. The great care and tireless effort with which Martin Griffiths, the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, has been engaged on this issue deserve our respect and admiration.
The key thing now is for the agreed measures to be implemented. The suffering and great hardship of people in Yemen can only be alleviated if swift and unhindered access is granted to humanitarian aid and essential commercial goods.
We are in close contact with the United Nations regarding how we can provide comprehensive support for these steps.
To support progress in the negotiations and help improve the situation in the country, the German Government – together with the United Nations – has established a fund for which Germany has provided 2.5 million euros in start-up financing and has pledged to provide an additional 2 million euros in 2019.
The German Government is providing significant humanitarian assistance in Yemen (in 2018: 125 million euros; in 2019: commitments so far in the amount of 39 million euros). It also supports stabilisation projects and plays a major role in development cooperation.