Speaking on the fringes of his visit to Burkina Faso, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement on the donor conference for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen due to take place in Geneva today (26 February):
Yemen is experiencing the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. More than three quarters of the people there are dependent on assistance – and their appalling situation is getting worse. The threat of famine remains acute. The same applies to the danger of serious diseases such as cholera and diphtheria.
We cannot and will not turn a blind eye to the suffering of the people in Yemen. For this reason, Germany is making a substantial volume of life saving humanitarian assistance available in 2019, too. In her role as Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, Bärbel Kofler will today pledge a total of 100 million euros for this year within the framework of the United Nations humanitarian assistance plan. We will also continue our support in the areas of stabilisation and development cooperation.
Moreover, Bärbel Kofler will make quite clear that humanitarian organisations must not be prevented from providing life saving assistance. Likewise, the protection of the civilian population and infrastructure must be assured. That also specifically includes staff and institutions providing humanitarian and medical care to the suffering people.
However, in the long term the only remedy is to work with perseverance to find a political solution, as complex as the conflict in Yemen is. The dialogue process between the parties therefore needs to continue. United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths has our full support in this endeavour.
Yet it is also clear that stable progress must be made for this to succeed. The parties need to show that they are serious and interested in building trust. The agreements on the withdrawal of troops from the ports and central districts of Hodeidah need to be implemented swiftly and without delay. Grain stores vital for feeding millions of people are located in the heavily mined frontline area in Hodeidah. Making these accessible would send a strong humanitarian signal.