Foreign affairs minister warns Yemen "at risk of becoming a failed state"

Ireland has announced a further €2m in humanitarian funding for the country

Foreign affairs minister warns Yemen "at risk of becoming a failed state"

Yemeni boys gather around a fire to warm themselves from the evening cold in the outskirts of Sanaa, Yemen, 31-Dec-2016. Image: AP Photo/Hani Mohammed

The Foreign Affairs Minister has warned that Yemen is “at risk of becoming a failed state” as the government announces a further €2m in humanitarian funding for the country.

The money will be used to meet urgent needs in the area as fighting between Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and the Yemeni government - supported by a Saudi-led coalition - continues.

Late last year Oxfam warned the Yemeni population is “at risk of catastrophic hunger” with food stocks set to run out by April.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan said he has been, “monitoring the situation in Yemen with growing concern.”

“The number of people now in need in Yemen exceeds those in either Iraq or Syria,” he said. “Almost 19 million Yemenis - 70% of the population - urgently require humanitarian support.”

“More than 14 million people are living without access to adequate food, safe water and sanitation; and over 3 million people have been forced to flee their homes as a result of this protracted conflict.”

The €2m provision brings the total level of Irish aid for those affected by the conflict to over €4m since the beginning of last year.

Minister Flanagan said recent efforts to broker a peace agreement in the region “appear to have stalled.”

“The only way to end the suffering of the Yemeni people is through a resolution to this conflict,” he said.

“I commend the efforts of UN Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed and his team, who continue efforts to bring conflicting parties to the negotiating table.  

“I urge those with influence in the region to convince parties that a peace agreement is in the best interests of all, and the only way forward.”

Minister Flanagan said he had expressed his concern over military attacks that directly affect civilians during a recent meeting with the Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and the UAE Foreign Affairs Minister.

The United States has supported the coalition against the Houthis over the past year with intelligence, weapons and mid-air refuelling aircraft.

Oxfam has called Britain “one of the principle backers of this brutal war” and urged the country to end its arms sales and military support for Saudi Arabia in order to “put Yemen on the road to peace.”

“Before this conflict began, Yemen was already the poorest country in the Gulf region,” said Minister Flanagan. “It is clearly at risk of becoming a failed state, with a generation of children who are growing up malnourished and without education.”

“This additional funding today will go some way towards assisting those at the frontline of this forgotten crisis, and I will continue to advocate at every opportunity for a peace agreement - which is the only way to bring the suffering of the Yemeni people to an end.”