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Britain welcomes humanitarian pause in Yemen conflict

(London) Tobias Ellwood welcomes the humanitarian pause to the ongoing conflict which began at 21:00 BST [23:00 local time] on 12 May.

Mr Ellwood said:

The humanitarian situation in Yemen is extremely concerning and there is an urgent need for improved and sustained access for humanitarian organisations. I welcome the initiative of the Government of Yemen and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to begin a five day humanitarian pause as an important step to achieving this aim. The British Government urges all parties to: respect and implement the pause; allow civilians who have been trapped by the fighting to leave; ensure rapid, safe and unhindered access for humanitarian organisations and the delivery of assistance to those in need. Improving access for commercial shipping is urgently needed to allow supplies of food and fuel into the country and to get markets working again.

Through the Department for International Development, the UK has allocated an additional £4 million to help meet emergency needs, bringing the UK’s overall commitment to the UN 2015 Humanitarian Appeal for Yemen to £15 million. UK support will help provide life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable people in Yemen – including those most affected by the conflict – by providing medical supplies, water, food and emergency shelter, as well as supporting refugees and migrants.

Ultimately, the solution to the crisis must be a political one. It is only through a lasting end to the conflict that humanitarian organisations will be able to reach communities in the worst affected areas to provide the assistance that is urgently needed. We continue to work with all parties to bring an end to the conflict and a return to UN-led inclusive political talks, and welcome the conference in Riyadh starting on 17 May on Yemen as a step towards achieving this.

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