Meon Valley MP Flick Drummond has warned the West must continue to seek peace and reconstruction in Yemen otherwise other countries like Russia and China will fill the vacuum.
Flick held a Westminster Hall debate on the Yemen this week and told MPs a ceasefire was holding but there was uncertainty about the future of the country and whether it can be united after many years of war with complex reasons and motivations behind it
The eight-year conflict has left more than 90% of the population in poverty and reliant on international aid. She said the Government must continue to play a leading role in promoting peace.
She also paid tribute to the UN special envoy, Hans Grundberg, and his predecessor, Martin Griffiths, for all their work in stopping the war so far.
“The six-month ceasefire has been the nearest thing to a reprieve since civil war broke out eight years ago,” she explained.
“Casualties have come down countrywide, there has been an increase in fuel deliveries, and international commercial flights to and from the capital Sana'a have recommenced for the first time in six years.”
However, she told MPs the latest proposal put forward by the special envoy has not been accepted by the Houthis – one of the major tribal factions taking part in the fighting.
“The outside world must remind the Houthis that all citizens have benefitted from the peace over the past year. Any attempt to prevent oil and goods from arriving at the port of Hodeidah impacts on the already difficult humanitarian crisis. Food is becoming more expensive as it becomes even more scarce, and there is not enough equipment to keep hospitals and schools functioning. Only 48% of the aid needed through the 2022 Yemen humanitarian response plan has been funded so far.”
But Flick, who was born in the Aden Protectorate warned the West must continue to assist.
“This war has gone on for too long, and too many people have died or been displaced. I urge the UK Government to work tirelessly with all parties and bring peace to a region that deserves it,” she said.
“Our soft power influences can be a big help to Yemen in its post-war reconstruction and rehabilitation. That is important, because there is a compelling geopolitical reason why the west must help the people of Yemen: China or Russia, for example, could fill the vacuum, which could be disastrous for the region’s security.
“Our support for people in crisis in the world, helping them to build stable and fair regimes, is an investment in our own security as well as theirs.”