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Yemen: Politics and Government

Volume 474: debated on Thursday 24 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions (a) he, (b) his Department and (c) UK representatives have had with (i) members and (ii) representatives of the government of (A) the United States, (B) members of the European Union, (C) Russia and (D) Yemen on the (1) social, (2) humanitarian and (3) political situation in Yemen; and if he will make a statement. (199220)

The UK is a leading western donor to Yemen. Officials from our Embassy in Sana’a have almost daily contact with the US, EU member states resident in Yemen and the Yemeni Government, regularly raising political, humanitarian and development issues. In addition, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office meets frequently with officials from the Yemeni embassy in London. I have visited Yemen on two occasions since becoming a Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and hope to do so again soon. I have raised Yemen’s developmental and political situation with the Yemeni Prime Minister, Minister of the Interior and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the action taken by the government of Yemen in the north of the country since January 2007; and if he will make a statement. (199221)

The Government of Yemen has been fighting a series of internal conflicts with al-Huthi-led rebels in the Governorate of Sa’dah since 2004. This conflict is an internal matter and we acknowledge the need for the Government of Yemen to maintain security within its borders. We have also called for care to avoid civilian casualties and for dialogue between the Government of Yemen and the Huthis to try to achieve a ceasefire. A recent Qatari-led mediation effort has achieved a pause in the fighting, although we continue to receive reports of sporadic violence in isolated areas. We welcome the Qatari mediation effort and consider it the best route to achieving a lasting peace in Sa’dah.