Yemen

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons on 22nd January 2019.

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Photo of Liz Twist Liz Twist Labour, Blaydon

What recent diplomatic steps he has taken to help secure a resolution to the conflict in Yemen.

Photo of Ruth George Ruth George Labour, High Peak

What recent diplomatic steps he has taken to help secure a resolution to the conflict in Yemen.

Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Last Wednesday, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2452, which establishes a six-month, 75-strong UN mission to monitor the ceasefire in Hodeidah. We obviously wish it every success.

Photo of Liz Twist Liz Twist Labour, Blaydon

One of the fears about the Swedish agreement and the accompanying UN resolution was that they were too limited in scope and too loose in enforcing compliance. Does the Secretary of State accept that those fears are being realised? Is it not time to consider a broader and more robust UN resolution?

Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

I understand the hon. Lady’s concerns. I simply say that we wanted to establish a ceasefire—this is the first time that has happened in four years of conflict—and then move on to the next stage, which is a second set of peace talks where we can agree a political settlement. There have been some worrying signs—there have been attacks on both sides—but I was in touch with Martin Griffiths, the UN special envoy yesterday, and broadly the ceasefire is holding. The key thing is to open the road from Sana’a to Hodeidah so that World Food Programme food can be released to the population.

Photo of Ruth George Ruth George Labour, High Peak

In the coming weeks, both Houses of Congress are due to vote on whether the US should continue its support for the Saudi coalition in Yemen. Both are expected to vote that it should not. Will the Government give this House the same opportunity to vote on whether the UK should maintain our support for the war if it continues?

Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

This House has shown recently its high ability to have votes on anything and everything it wishes to, so I am sure that there are plenty of opportunities to have votes on that. However, to answer directly in response to the point that the hon. Lady is making, breaking off support for the Saudi-Emirati coalition would reduce our influence with those two countries. At the moment, the ceasefire is broadly holding because those two countries are playing ball, and we would not want to change that.

Photo of Kevin Brennan Kevin Brennan Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) (Arts and Heritage)

I thank the Foreign Secretary for what he said before Christmas about my constituent Jackie Morgan’s daughter, Safia, who was kidnapped from Cardiff and taken to Yemen in the ’80s. I am glad to report to the House that she, her family and her husband, who are now in Cairo, have been granted the visas to travel to the UK, I hope tomorrow. Will the Foreign Secretary pass on my thanks to the Minister for the Middle East for the efforts that he has made to help in this case?

Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

I am happy to do that. I thank my right hon. Friend the Minister and all the Foreign Office staff involved in that work.