Department for International Development written question – answered on 21st October 2015.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Shadow Foreign Secretary

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 12 October 2015 to Question 11278, who is responsible for restrictions on commercial and humanitarian shipping to Yemen.

Photo of Desmond Swayne Desmond Swayne The Minister of State, Department for International Development

A number of parties are responsible for the conflict in Yemen which has led to the restrictions on commercial and humanitarian shipping to Yemen. At President Hadi’s request, Saudi-led Coalition airstrikes began in March 2015 following a rebellion against President Hadi and the Government of Yemen by the Houthi’s and forces loyal to former president Saleh. Intense fighting and insecurity on the ground has resulted in restrictions being placed on commercial and humanitarian shipping, and it is proving difficult to distribute food and fuel to those who need it making the humanitarian situation even worse.

The most important action to address the humanitarian situation, beyond a ceasefire, is to open up access for commercial and humanitarian goods to reach those most in need. All parties to the conflict should take all reasonable steps to allow and facilitate humanitarian access, to facilitate immediate access to life-saving supplies both into and within Yemen. The Secretary of State for International Development recently reinforced this message at the United Nations General Assembly in September.

The UK also supports the UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism, UNVIM, which is now being established to address commercial shipping needs. It involves setting up an internationally-staffed maritime verification centre to replace the existing informal Coalition mechanism. To be effective, all commercial cargo should be within the scope of UNVIM – including fuel.

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