UK welcomes steps to reopen Yemen ports for UN aid

 29 Nov 2017 - 12:55

UK welcomes steps to reopen Yemen ports for UN aid

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LONDON: The U.K. has welcomed steps taken towards reopening of two ports in Yemen and the resumption of UN flights to Sana’a airport, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Tuesday.

Johnson’s statement came following a London forum attended by foreign ministers of the U.K., Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E. and Oman; US undersecretary of state for political affairs also participated. 

“The U.K. will continue to press for humanitarian and commercial access to be restored to all ports, so that the already dire humanitarian situation does not deteriorate further,” he said.

“We will also be taking forward the UN-led diplomatic process, as well as reviewing the security situation, including the recent attempted ballistic missile strike.”

A joint communique released following the meeting said the ministers “received a briefing from the UN Special Envoy, and discussed the political, humanitarian and security situation”.

It said the ministers “underlined that the conflict has created an urgent humanitarian crisis and agreed that there was a shared responsibility among all parties to ensure safe, rapid and unhindered access for goods and for humanitarian personnel throughout Yemen”.

They discussed how they could enhance “inspection mechanisms to prevent weapons smuggling into Yemen, while ensuring unimpeded movement of goods into and throughout Yemen”.

Also strongly condemning the Nov. 4 missile attack on Saudi capital Riyadh, they “expressed full support for Saudi Arabia and its legitimate security concerns”.

The foreign ministers “underlined that the firing of ballistic missiles by Houthi forces into neighbouring countries posed threats to regional security and prolonged the conflict”.

“Ministers called for an immediate end to such attacks by Houthi forces and their allies," the communique said. 

“The ministers expressed strong support for UN efforts to investigate the origins of the missiles and take appropriate action, and backed a redoubling of efforts to reach a political solution, which remains the only route to ending the conflict and addressing security threats to Yemen’s neighbours.” 

At the meeting, the foreign ministers also “recognised the need for all sides to show flexibility and abandon pre-conditions and called on the Houthis and their allies to engage the UN Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed on the political process”.