7 December 2017

South Africa On Situation in Yemen

press release

The South African Government is very concerned about the deteriorating situation in Yemen, including the death of the former President of Yemen, Mr Ali Abdullah Saleh and the calls from some quarters for revenge.

South Africa shares the concerns expressed by the United Nations spokesperson on 4 December 2017 about the escalation of clashes and air strikes, as well as the suspension of aid flights in and out of Sanaa. Of the utmost concern is the inability of humanitarian workers to react to calls by families that have been trapped in Sanaa and its surroundings.

The protection of civilians remains a key priority for South Africa and we condemn any deliberate attacks on civilians and other civilian sites. We fully support calls for an immediate ceasefire as a basis for allowing uninhibited provision of humanitarian assistance to the people of Yemen.

The conflict in Yemen has already led to unspeakable tragedy for millions of people. It has seen the largest ever single-year cholera outbreak and an outbreak of diphtheria largely due to the breakdown of health and sanitation services and the severe difficulties to render humanitarian assistance brought about mostly by the blockade of humanitarian deliveries. And, as noted by the Security Council, it is a country on the brink of a catastrophic famine.

The South African Government calls for statesmanship by all parties to the conflict as they deal with the aftermath of the late former President Saleh's death. South Africa maintains that there is no military way out of the conflict in Yemen. The only sustainable resolution will be a negotiated, inclusive, fair political settlement, which puts the interests and wellbeing of the 25 million citizens of Yemen first.

South Africa stands ready to assist Yemen in any way within its means to find lasting peace and prosperity.

Issued by: Department of International Relations and Cooperation

South Africa

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