LONDON: A meeting of Arab foreign ministers in London heard how the reopening of the country’s ports had given a boost to the international humanitarian effort underway in the country.
UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson hosted the meeting which was attended by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir and his counterparts from the UAE and Oman. Thomas Shannon, the US undersecretary of state for foreign affairs, and UN Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed also attended.
“I welcome the steps taken toward reopening the ports of Hodeidah and Salif and the resumption of UN flights to Sanaa airport,” said Johnson.” The UK 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.”
Alistair Burt, the UK minister of state for the Middle East welcomed the progress that had been made toward reopening air and sea links to the country and stressed that uninterrupted commercial and humanitarian access was vital to prevent a famine in the country.
In a statement issued after the meeting, the stakeholders, known as the “Quint,” expressed “full support for Saudi Arabia and its legitimate security concerns” and underlined that the firing of ballistic missiles by Houthi forces into neighboring countries posed threats to regional security and prolonged the conflict.”
“Ministers discussed ways of enhancing inspection mechanisms to prevent weapons smuggling into Yemen, while ensuring unimpeded movement of goods into and throughout Yemen,” the statement said.
A Saudi-led coalition has been fighting Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen since March 2015.
The coalition closed air, land and sea access to Yemen on Nov. 6, two days after Houthi militias fired a missile toward Riyadh that was intercepted.