Today, together with 24 MEP's from different groups, I sent the following letter to High Representative Mogherini urging her to do more to end the ongoing violence in Yemen.
Brussels, June 22nd 2018
Dear High Representative, Federica,
We write to you to express our grave concern about the situation in Yemen. Despite credible warnings of bloodshed and suffering for civilians, the Saudi-led coalition started operations to retake the Red Sea port of Al Hudaydah from Iranian-backed Houthi rebels on June 13th. These operations are set to cut off the rest of the country from essential food and medical supplies.
The battle for Al Hudaydah is likely to take weeks if not months. The United Nations has estimated that more than 250.000 civilians are at risk of losing their lives and an additional 340.000 could become displaced.
‘There is no military solution to the conflict in Yemen’. This message is not only echoed by the EU but also by all coalition forces fighting in the country, including the United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Unfortunately, violent actions speak louder than words. Current military developments will likely only drive parties further away from the negotiating table, undermining the efforts undertaken by UN special envoy. Mr Griffiths’ ongoing attempts to negotiate a ceasefire and to bring Al Hudaydah under UN control have been unsuccessful because of irreconcilable demands from both sides.
The past days have also illustrated the limited influence the United States is able or willing to exercise over the coalition forces. More than ever, we need European leadership to end conflict and to stop the humanitarian disaster unfolding before our very eyes in Yemen.
We therefore urge you to:
Call on Saudi Arabia and the UAE to immediately cease their assault on Al Hudaydah and move beyond statements calling on parties to respect international humanitarian law.
Impose an arms embargo on all parties fighting in Yemen. By supplying arms to Saudi Arabia, countries including the United Kingdom, France and Germany are indirectly enabling the grave human rights violations committed in Yemen.
Define an EU strategy for Yemen. With a strategy and special representative for Yemen, the EU could provide additional political backing for Mr Griffith’s efforts to reach a negotiated and inclusive settlement under UN auspices. It would also provide clear guidance to the current fragmentation that exists between the positions and actions taken by differen EU member states. Member states voting against each other’s’ resolutions in the UN Security Council completely undermines the EU’s credibility to play a meaningful role to end the conflict in Yemen.
For the people of Yemen time is running out. The time for the EU to take a more active and constructive role to end the violence is now. We hope these appeals will be reflected in the conclusions the Foreign Affairs Council will adopt on Yemen next week Monday.
Sophie in ‘t Veld
Lola Sánchez Caldentey
Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea
Ángela Vallina de la Noval
José Inácio Faria
Molly Scott Cato