The Speaker
Tuesday, 18 June 2024 – 17:28

Ceasefire useless in Yemen unless both sides prove commitment, warns Foreign Secretary

Jeremy Hunt has warned the Yemen conflict will reoccur if both sides do not implement commitments made at peace talks.

In an interview with Sky News, the respected diplomatic described the ceasefire as a “critical moment” for the Yemeni people who have known war and starvation since 2015.

The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are amongst others in a coalition which back the Yemeni government, but during peace talks in December committed to ending airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Hudeidah.

The Houthi movement is described as an Islamic religious-political and armed movement which emerged in the 1990s.

According to Mr Hunt, the rebels have failed so far to leave the occupied area despite arrangements made at peace talks.

“The Houthis need to do their side of the bargain. And that needs trust and it needs courage and it isn’t easy in a situation like we’re in.

“But it is absolutely essential for the people of Yemen, who’ve suffered so much, that this first real shot at peace we’ve had for four years is given a chance to succeed”, he told Sky News.

This was the first time the secretary had visited since war broke out and is the first time a British foreign secretary travelled there since 1996 when Malcom Rifkind held the title.


A danger in pushing for peace was highlighted by Mr Hunt, stating that 20 million people are clueless as to whether they will receive food supplies.

He said: “We’ve had 85,000 children estimated to have died of starvation.”

The United Nations also say this is the number of Yemeni children dead, while also adding that 13 million people face starvation in what could be “the worst famine in the world in 100 years.”

At a pledging conference for Yemen held in Geneva last month, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his unity with those suffering.

“I stand in solidarity with millions of suffering Yemenis. And the United Nations and the wider international community are with you every step of the way.

“Together, inshallah, we can bring the suffering in Yemen to an end”, he added.

It still remains unclear as to whether the ceasefire will maintain but Mr Hunt warned of a “terrible humanitarian tragedy” if the war restarted.

“Patience is wearing very thin”, he said.




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