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West is implicated in Yemeni violence

30 November 2018


An infant in Sana’a, in Yemen, is vaccinated against polio

An infant in Sana’a, in Yemen, is vaccinated against polio

THE UK, the United States, and France must step in to stop fighting in Yemen, or mass starvation will follow, an NGO has warned.

The International Crisis Group (ICG), a conflict-monitoring charity, has warned that the UK, US, and France — all of whom supply arms to the Saudi-led coalition — will be guilty by complicity unless they stop the sale of weapons, and move to end the blockade of the strategic port of Hodeidah.

The port is the main route for bringing in humanitarian assistance to the war-stricken country. Thousands of civilians remain trapped in and around Hodeidah.

After three years of fighting between Houthi rebels and government forces backed by the Arab coalition, UN officials say that 14 million people — half the population of the country — are at risk of famine.

More than 85,000 children have died of starvation in the past three years, a report from Save the Children, published this month, says.

A new resolution, proposed by the UK, is being considered by the UN Security Council. It includes a call for an immediate truce in Hodeidah, and a guarantee of safe delivery of humanitarian and commercial goods through the port city.

The ICG said that this resolution did not go far enough. The port city should be put under UN control to protect its infrastructure and inhabitants, and the ceasefire made nationwide. It warned that time was of the essence, “and at this stage, only concerted external pressure can be expected to produce the desired effect”.

It praised a call by the US for UN-led peace talks. The US move — which surprised many — came in the wake of the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

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