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House of Commons Hansard
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Yemen: Politics and Government
26 November 2009
Volume 501
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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment has been made of the security situation in northern Yemen; and what the Government's policy is on the matter. [301976]

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The UK is increasingly concerned about the situation in northern Yemen. The conflict threatens Yemeni security and the stability of the region.

We support the right of the Saudi Government to use proportionate means to defend the integrity of their territory. We do not believe that violence is the right way to resolve disputes, inequalities and injustices. The UK does not believe that a military solution to the Huthi conflict can achieve long term success. We encourage the rebels and the government of Yemen to agree a humanitarian ceasefire, an end to all violence and to pursue a political settlement to address legitimate grievances.

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the governments of (a) Yemen and (b) Saudi Arabia on the security situation in northern Yemen. [301977]

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I last met the Yemeni Foreign Minister on 25 September 2009 when we spoke about the conflict in northern Yemen. I expressed the UK's concern about the deteriorating situation and urged him to consider a humanitarian ceasefire in light of the 175,000 internally displaced people.

I last spoke to the Saudi Minister for Foreign Affairs on 9 October 2009. We discussed the UK and Saudi Arabia's shared concern about the potential for deterioration in the region.

My officials and those of Department for International Development are in daily contact with their Yemeni and Saudi counterparts at all levels. We are increasingly concerned about the situation in northern Yemen and the conflict along the Yemeni-Saudi border. We support the Saudi Government's right to use proportionate means to defend the integrity of their territory.

The situation in northern Yemen has the potential to create further instability in the Gulf region but we have seen no evidence of external interference to that end. The UK does not believe that a military solution to the Huthi conflict can achieve long term success. We encourage the rebels and the government of Yemen to agree to a humanitarian ceasefire, an end to all violence and to pursue a negotiated political settlement to address legitimate grievances.