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Updated: 2 hours 53 min ago

Yemen: Yemen: Access Constraints as of 23 October 2016

2 hours 55 min ago
Source: World Food Programme, Logistics Cluster Country: Yemen

World: Food Assistance Outlook Brief September 2016

24 October 2016 - 12:58pm
Source: Famine Early Warning System Network Country: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Djibouti, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, World, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe


This brief summarizes FEWS NET’s most forward-looking analysis of projected emergency food assistance needs in FEWS NET coverage countries. The projected size of each country’s acutely food insecure population (IPC Phase 3 and higher) is compared to last year and the recent five-year average and categorized as Higher ( p), Similar ( u), or Lower ( q). Countries where external emergency food assistance needs are anticipated are identified. Projected lean season months highlighted in red indicate either an early start or an extension to the typical lean season. Additional information is provided for countries with large food insecure populations, an expectation of high severity, or where other key issues warrant additional discussion. Analytical confidence is lower in remote monitoring countries, denoted by “RM”. Visit for detailed country reports.

World: World Polio Day: WHO and UNICEF call for no complacency and increased access in last push to eradicate

23 October 2016 - 8:01pm
Source: World Health Organization, UN Children's Fund Country: World, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Yemen

24 October 2016, Amman | Today, on World Polio Day, polio eradication partners celebrate the successes of the programme to date and rally for the additional support needed to wipe out the disease for good. In the Middle East, polio partners WHO and UNICEF acknowledge the hard work done to keep the region polio free, but urge all countries to maintain vigilance and to guard against the virus being re-introduced. Despite the gains, serious challenges remain, for example, conflict limits consistent access to high-risk populations in Syria, Iraq and Yemen and this continues to hinder efforts to vaccinate every single child under five, and compromises surveillance and early warning systems.

“The continued efforts of governments, partners and communities to protect children in the Middle East from polio have been truly remarkable,” said Chris Maher, manager of WHO’s regional polio eradication group based in Amman. “But we are not out of the woods yet. Polio continues to circulate in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and recently made a comeback in Nigeria, and so long as there is transmission anywhere, children in the Middle East remain at risk,” he added. “We cannot afford to be complacent; we must ensure systems are strong enough to keep polio out of the region, until the job is finished in all parts of the world,” he said.

“Polio resurged in Syria in 2013 and Iraq in 2014, after 14 years of absence in the Middle East. An 18-month multi-country, multi-partner outbreak response, including more than 50 rounds of polio campaigns, successfully stopped the spread of the virus and again made the Middle East polio-free. It is now essential to strengthen routine immunization in all countries in the region and focus on high risk areas to ensure every child is vaccinated, to prevent future outbreaks,” said Anirban Chatterjee, the chief of Health and Nutrition in UNICEF Regional office for MENA.

Over the past 12 months, in addition to polio endemic countries Pakistan and Afghanistan, WHO and UNICEF have supported polio campaigns in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Egypt, Libya, Djibouti, Jordan and Lebanon. Campaigns will continue in countries with higher risk until polio is eradicated worldwide.

--- END ---

Note for journalist: The fight to end polio is led by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which includes Rotary International, UNICEF, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and governments of the world, with the support of many others around the globe.

For more information:

Joseph Swan
Communications Officer, Polio
World Health Organization
Amman, Jordan | +962 7 9048 4637

Yemen: Building Capacity of Local NGOs to Respond to Yemen's Humanitarian Crisis and Improve Service Delivery in Conflict Affected Communities

23 October 2016 - 5:47pm
Source: UN Development Programme Country: Yemen

Sana'a, 20 October 2016 – In cooperation with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Humanitarian Forum Yemen (YHF) has concluded a two-week training course on Humanitarian Competencies, Conflict Resolution, and Early Recovery to build the capacity of local Non-Government Organizations (NGOs). The objectives of the training are to reflect the local NGOs experience in the thematic training manuals, which UNDP and YHF are working to develop, promote a wide scale response to the humanitarian crisis in the country and to improve service delivery in the conflict affected areas. In the presence of representatives from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour, UNDP, YHF and local NGOs, a closing ceremony was held in the capital Sana'a on Thursday to mark the graduation of more than 60 trainees including 50% of women, representing 30 local NGOs from the governorates of Abyan, Aden and Taiz.

Employing a range of theoretical and practical approaches, the training provides the participants with advanced skills in conflict mitigation and prevention so they can adopt and replicate their experience to implement high quality and conflict-sensitive projects in the conflict affected communities. "You are now the corps of peace and goodwill," said Mojeeb Al-Fatesh, the representative of the Yemeni Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour during the closing ceremony. "The governorates where you came from were severely affected by the ongoing conflict. We rely on you to work on mitigating local conflicts and restore peace in your communities," he added.

Meanwhile, UNDP representative Aleen Hamzah stressed that this capacity building event come within the framework of UNDP Yemen to lay the foundations for sustainable recovery in the conflict affected areas. She pointed out that building the capacity of local NGOs will enable them to restore livelihoods, coordinate humanitarian activities, prevent the recurrence of crisis, and create conditions for future development, thus increasing national capacity to deliver humanitarian aid to those in need and boost early recovery efforts and development with conflict sensitive approaches.

The training is part of UNDP's Joint Emergency Capacity Development Support Project, which seeks to strengthen the capacity of the local NGOs working in the communities that were hit by the ongoing conflict in Yemen since March 2015. "The NGOs participated in this training were selected as some of the most sustainable, reliable and professional partners to work with the Government of Yemen, UN agencies and international partners to help people in need. We count on you to cascade what you have learned to your communities, organizations and colleagues in order to secure a wide-scale impact," highlighted the YHF Chairperson Hilal Al-Bahri in his remarks during the ceremony.

Another batch of more than 60 trainees representing 30 NGOs from the governorates of Hajjah, Sana'a and Sa'ada has recently received similar 12 days training in an effort to reach most of the conflict affected governorates.

To read more about UNDP Yemen’s work during the ongoing conflict, click here.

UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in more than 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.

Project Coordinator

Khaled Al-Sharabi, Project Coordinator (Mobile: +967 712221402,, or Fuad Hazaea, Projects National Communication and Advocacy Officer, (Mobile: +967 712221686,

Yemen: UAE delivers urgent medical assistance to prevent spread of cholera in Aden

23 October 2016 - 10:40am
Source: Emirates News Agency Country: Yemen

ADEN, 22nd October, 2016 (WAM)--Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) has dispatched urgent medical supplies to a number of hospitals in Aden to prevent the spread of cholera following monitoring a number of cases in several districts that caused the death of some patients there.

The central laboratory at Al Jumhouriya hospital received the oral rehydration solution (ORS) to help examine suspected cases of cholera. The ERC also delivered to competent authority in Aden 20 barrels of chlorine as part of a contribution to fight against the spread of cholera.

The ERC team provided in Aden the ORS to the coordinator of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Yemen, Dr. Mohammed Cleese, who thanked the ERC on the speedy response. He added that these solutions were sufficient to examine 500 suspected cases.

He also welcomed the rapid response by the UAE to meet the needs of the organisation for these solutions.

Medical sources said that a number of people with cholera continues to increase, and called on the government and local authorities to take action to deal with the situation, especially in Dar Saad, Al Mansoura and Al Ma'li Alli and Al Basateen districts.

This move coincides with an awareness campaign organised by the ERC in schools and health center on the ways and methods of prevention of cholera.

Earlier, the WHO warned in a statement posted on the social networking site account, "Twitter" on increase of cholera cases in Yemen, saying that "it has reached a worrying stage that should not be ignored."

The UAE has recently signed two cooperation agreements with the WHO to develop the health sector in Yemen through the implementation of a number of projects and programmes worth AED50.5 million.


Yemen: ERC distributes aid in Yemen's Abyan province

23 October 2016 - 10:39am
Source: Emirates News Agency Country: Yemen

ABYAN, 22nd October 2016 (WAM) - The Emirates Red Crescent Authority (ERC) is continuing its programmes to distribute aid to the Yemeni citizens affected by current events.

The ERC sent today a land convoy of 12 trucks, carrying food aid to Lawdar District in Abyan province, carrying 4,500 food parcels for distribution among the residents of the city and neighbouring areas.

Director of Lawdar District Abdullah Al Wahidi, thanked the UAE and ERC for aiding the Yemeni citizens.

WAM/bashir WAM 1358 2016/10/22 END

Yemen: Note to Correspondents: Statement Attributable to the United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen on the Cessation of Hostilities, 22 October 2016

22 October 2016 - 8:01pm
Source: UN Department of Public Information Country: Yemen

New York

With the 72 hour Cessation of Hostilities in Yemen coming to an end, the United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail OuldCheikh Ahmed, urges all parties to agree to its extension for at least another renewable 72 hours.

"The ceasefire was largely holding despite reported violations from both sides in several areas. We noted over the last days that food and humanitarian supplies were provided to several affected neighborhoods and that UN personnel were able to reach areas that were previously inaccessible. We would like to build on this and we aim for a wider outreach in the next few days", said the Special Envoy.

The Special Envoy reminds all parties that the terms and conditions of the Cessation of Hostilities include an obligation to allow free and unhindered access for humanitarian supplies and personnel to all parts of Yemen, in addition to a full and comprehensive halt to military activities of any kind. “This must be respected at all times, in all areas”, said the Special Envoy.

The Special Envoy reiterated his call for the immediate reactivation of the De-escalation and Coordination Committee (DCC) and the deployment of its members to Dhahran Al Janoub as agreed during the Kuwait talks. “I expect all sides to strictly adhere to their commitments and work toward a definitive cessation of violence through a political process. In case parties agree to the extension, the Cessation of Hostilities must be fully respected. Our aim is that it will lead to a permanent and lasting end to the conflict," he added. "Yemenis deserve to live in peace and have access to their basic rights and all parties must assume their responsibility in protecting them."

Yemen: Yemen truce expires after day of heavy fighting

22 October 2016 - 6:00pm
Source: Reuters - AlertNet Country: Yemen

Saturday, 22 October 2016 20:59 GMT

By Mohammed Ghobari and Katie Paul

SANAA/NAJRAN, Saudi Arabia, Oct 22 (Reuters) - A supposed ceasefire in the Yemen conflict expired a minute before midnight on Saturday after a day of heavy fighting between Saudi-backed forces and the Iran-allied Houthi movement.

Read more

Yemen: Yemen ETC Services October 2016

22 October 2016 - 5:10am
Source: World Food Programme, Emergency Telecommunications Cluster Country: Yemen

The ETC is establishing security and data telecommunications services for the humanitarian community operating in Yemen. WFP is leading ETC activities in Yemen with responsibility for coordination, implementation and overall operational support for common ICT services.
Provision of the services included on this map are dependent on the availability of funding.
Locations are proposed only and subject to final confirmation with humanitarian partners.

Yemen: 2016 Yemen Situation - Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan - Funding snapshot as at 20 October 2016

21 October 2016 - 4:05pm
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen

Yemen: UNHCR makes new aid delivery push in Yemen, welcomes 72-hour ceasefire

21 October 2016 - 2:34pm
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

By: Adrian Edwards

In a new aid push, UNHCR is delivering emergency supplies to more than 125,000 displaced people, including in the embattled southern town of Taizz.

Aid distributions have been part of the humanitarian response since Yemen’s conflict began in March 2015, but access has often been difficult and UNHCR welcomes this week’s ceasefire, which is not linked to the aid push. The opportunity to get help to people in need in hard-to-reach, conflict-affected areas is particularly important. We hope the ceasefire lasts and leads to resumed peace talks and more such opportunities for aid to get through.

UNHCR plans to reach more than 125,000 individuals under the aid push. Already this month and prior to the ceasefire we have reached some 12,309 people (in Al Hudaydah, Amanat Al Asimah, Amran, Hajjah, Sa’ada and Sana’a governorates).

An additional 21 convoys are on the move or being prepared for Taizz as well as five other governorates (Ibb, Amanat Al Asimah, Amran, Hajjah and Al Hudaydah) governorates. These areas are host to 65 per cent (1.427 million people) of Yemen’s 2.21 million conflict-displaced population.

The aid UNHCR is delivering is non-food aid. Included in it are tarpaulins, sleeping mats, blankets, kitchen sets and buckets for hygiene and sanitation. Shelter repair kits will help about 25,760 people. Much of this assistance had either been prepositioned in UNHCR’s warehouses in Sana’a and Al Hudaydah governorates or shipped to Al Hudaydah port through recent deliveries totalling 1,475 tons. The latest aid push follows weeks of preparation for the movement of convoys.

UNHCR has been advocating with parties to the conflict for regular, sustained and unimpeded humanitarian access to those most in need. Humanitarian operations in Yemen are still constrained by the conflict, which has left 21.2 million people (more than 80 per cent of the population) in need of help.

Much vital infrastructure has been destroyed vital the economy devastated. Amid this situation shelter has emerged as a key need for displaced Yemenis, along with food and drinking water. Most of the uprooted, some 62 per cent, are being accommodated by overstretched local communities while others stay in rented accommodation or in makeshift arrangements, including public or abandoned buildings and informal settlements, at risk of harm and with little or no protection.

The majority of those forced to flee their homes have been living in displacement for an average of at least 10 months amid deteriorating conditions. Those in informal settlements or collective centres are struggling in under-resourced and overcrowded conditions. Others living in rented premises are at risk of eviction or extortion. Local host communities are buckling under the strain of caring for so many people for so long.

The devastating conflict in Yemen has left more than 2.2 million people internally displaced and forced some 180,500 people to flee to other countries in the region. There are also 278,034 registered refugees and asylum seekers in Yemen, mainly from Somalia and Ethiopia.

For more information on this topic, please contact: In Amman, Shabia Mantoo,, +962 7 9614 3158

Djibouti: WFP Djibouti Country Brief, September 2016

21 October 2016 - 10:38am
Source: World Food Programme Country: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen


  • WFP requires additional resources for the school meals programme under the Development Operation to mitigate possible breaks in food stocks. WFP’s support is important to prevent deterioration of school enrollment and attendance rates, thus jeopardizing the gains made over the last three years.

WFP Assistance

The protracted relief and recovery operation (PRRO) aims to stabilize or reduce undernutrition among children aged 6–59 months, pregnant women and nursing mothers; stabilize or improve food consumption for targeted households and individuals; and restore or stabilize access to basic services and community assets.

WFP ensures that registered refugees living in camps and the most food-insecure Djiboutian populations have access to an adequate daily caloric intake through the distribution of food rations, including specialized food products. The rations are aimed at treating moderate acute malnutrition and prevent chronic and acute malnutrition. WFP also distributes cash to refugees in camps and electronic vouchers to the most vulnerable households in the suburbs of Djibouti city. Refugee girls receive a take home ration to encourage girls' school enrolment and attendance. People living with HIV/AIDS on antiretroviral treatment and TB patients on direct observation treatment are provided with specialized nutrition products to support treatment and recovery.

In addition, WFP is supporting a safety net intervention seeking to mitigate the effects of HIV/AIDS on affected households through income generating activities. WFP supports food-insecure communities and households with asset creation activities that enhance their resilience to chronic shocks and risks related to climate change.

The development operation supports access to basic education for all school-aged children in rural areas and semi-urban areas of Djibouti city. The objectives are to increase access to education at regional, national and community levels; make progress towards a nationally owned school feeding programme and promote an equitable access to and utilization of education among girls in particular through the reduction of drop-out rates and improvement of attendance.

School children enjoy diversified school meals in targeted rural pre-primary and middle schools thanks to a combination of WFP-internationally purchased commodities and locally purchased fresh food with complementary funds allocated by the Government of Djibouti. A take-home ration of oil is provided to families of school girls in grade 3 through grade 5 as an incentive to send girls to school and maintain their enrolment and attendance through the 9th grade. WFP is supporting the capacity of the government towards the establishment of a sustainable national school feeding programme.

Operational Updates

  • Djibouti is currently hosting approximately 16,000 refugees from Somalia, Yemen, Eritrea and Ethiopia. According to UNHCR, since the crisis in Yemen started, a total of 35,862 people of mixed nationalities had arrived in Djibouti, most of them continuing their journey to other countries. Despite the ongoing conflict in Yemen, UNHCR has not reported any new influx of refugees in recent months. WFP continues to provide food assistance to all registered refugees living in Ali Addeh, Holl Holl and Markazi camps, in the form of general distributions, nutrition interventions and take home rations for school girls to encourage school attendance. The general distributions include a cash component to diversify refugees’ diet, increase their purchase power and boost the local markets. In September, WFP provided food assistance to 14,370 refugees living in the camps.

  • WFP provides food assistance to the rural and urban food-insecure households affected by drought in the form of general rations. In addition, WFP supports asset creation activities as part of building the resilience of affected communities. Nutrition interventions are ongoing for the prevention and treatment of moderate acute malnutrition and for people living with HIV/AIDS and those on TB treatment.

  • According to FEWSNET, due to the abundant Karan/Karma rains (July to September), pasture regeneration has occurred across almost all areas and milk production and sales have increased. In the pastoral regions of Obock and Ali Sabieh, regeneration of pastures has been slower but are still expected to fully recover by November despite the forecasted average to below-average Xays/Daada rains (October to February). As a result, all areas are likely to move to stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity in October except for Obock and Ali Sabieh, which are expected to move to that level in November.

Yemen: From the Ground Up: Gender and conflict analysis in Yemen

21 October 2016 - 9:23am
Source: CARE, Oxfam Country: Yemen

Conflicts and humanitarian crises affect men, women, girls, and boys differently due to their different societal roles and the deep-rooted socio-cultural and economic inequalities which become exacerbated during crises. Men and boys form the vast majority of direct victims of armed conflict and associated impacts like forced recruitment or arbitrary detention. Women bear the burdens of running the households under extreme stress and are often exposed to different forms of gender-based violence. During emergencies, women and girls become more vulnerable as basic services collapse and livelihoods diminish. In order to better understand the impact of armed conflict on men, women, boys, and girls, and the changes that have resulted in gender roles and relationships at household and community levels since the onset of conflict in March 2015, Oxfam, CARE and GenCap in Yemen collaborated to collect and analyse available data to further inform immediate humanitarian response as well as longer-term programming in Yemen.

Yemen: Yemen: Shelter/NFI/CCCM Cluster 3Ws (Who Does What Where) for August 2016

21 October 2016 - 8:20am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster, Shelter Cluster Country: Yemen

Somalia: IOM, Saudi Arabia Aid Somali Returnees from Yemen

21 October 2016 - 8:06am
Source: International Organization for Migration Country: Somalia, Yemen

Somalia - As the situation in Yemen continues to worsen, community leaders in Bossaso, Puntland State of Somalia, have met to brainstorm on ways to more sustainably provide jobs and access to basic services for Somali returnees, internally displaced people (IDPs), and affected communities.

The 20 leaders included community elders, village elders, representatives of local authority councils, Puntland’s Ministry of Interior, community leaders of Somali returnees residing in Bossaso, and IDP representatives.

The top four priorities identified by the community leaders were: livelihoods support; improvement of community security; hosting community integration sessions; and comprehensive health services.

Funding from the Saudi King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre will enable the community to implement selected priority projects that will benefit not only the returnees, but also IDPs and vulnerable members of the affected community.

Gerard Waite, IOM Somalia Chief of Mission, explained: “We encourage communities to jointly define their priorities and be involved in the implementation of activities to ensure that the affected population has a voice in decision-making and that the whole community benefits from priority interventions.”

This is part of a USD 10 million project focusing on providing support to those fleeing the Yemen crisis and communities affected by displacement, which is being implemented by IOM and UNHCR in close coordination with the Somalia Task Force on the Yemen Situation, and respective regional and local authorities.

Of the over 32,000 people who have to date fled to Somalia from war-torn Yemen, almost 20,000 will receive protection and emergency assistance through this project.

For further information, please contact: Nasser Alsubaie at KSRelief, Tel: +966.539186339 Email: or Heidrun Salzer at IOM Somalia, Tel: + 252. 617722 436, Email: or Julien Navier at UNHCR Nairobi, Tel: +254.732 400 044, Email:

Yemen: Yemen: Access Constraints as of 20 October 2016

21 October 2016 - 7:31am
Source: World Food Programme, Logistics Cluster Country: Yemen

Yemen: ERC delivers medical assistance to WHO in Yemen

21 October 2016 - 6:40am
Source: Emirates News Agency Country: Yemen

ADEN: Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) has moved quickly to save lives in Yemen by delivering oral rehydration solution (ORS), which is used to treat diarrhoea, as well as cholera.

The ERC delivered the rehydration solution to the coordinator of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Yemen, Dr. Mohammed Cleese.

The move is part of the UAE efforts to improve the performance of vital sectors, including the medical sector.

Cleese praised the UAE's speedy response, in providing rehydration solutions to the Yemeni people. He also thanked the UAE leadership and people on their continued efforts to prevent the spread of disease.

– Emirates News Agency, WAM -

Yemen: Yemen missile launch, Saudi-led air strike strain truce

20 October 2016 - 6:21pm
Source: Reuters - AlertNet Country: Yemen

"We hope this war ends soon, because people are tired. We want to live, not to die"

SANAA/ADEN, Yemen, Oct 20 (Reuters) - A 72-hour truce in Yemen came under pressure on Thursday when missiles fired from Yemen killed two civilians in Saudi Arabia, the United States said, while a Saudi-led coalition launched air strikes that Iran-allied Houthi fighters said killed three people.

Read more on Thomson Reuters Foundation

World: Action Against Hunger 2015 Annual Report

20 October 2016 - 1:39pm
Source: Action Against Hunger Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, Ukraine, World, Yemen, Zimbabwe



Yemen: Steinmeier and his Kuwaiti counterpart discuss situation in the Middle East

20 October 2016 - 11:32am
Source: Government of Germany Country: Germany, Kuwait, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine, Yemen

This Wednesday (19 October), Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier met with the Foreign Minister of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, at the Federal Foreign Office. Their talks focused on bilateral relations, the situation in Yemen, and in particular on joint efforts to provide humanitarian aid to, and to stabilise, the region. The ministers also discussed the situation in Ukraine. On that topic, the German Foreign Minister said it was now important “to revitalise both the talks and ongoing negotiations”.

An important and highly committed partner in the region

Following Foreign Minister Steinmeier’s last visit to Kuwait in October 2015, he today met with his Kuwaiti counterpart for talks in Berlin. They discussed the good and friendly relations between Germany and Kuwait, as well as the crises in the Middle East.

“Particularly in times like these, it is good to have partners at your side that are equally committed to improving the fate of people in the region,” Steinmeier said after the meeting. As the fourth-largest bilateral donor of aid in the Syria crisis, and as host and co-host of donor conferences for crises in the region, Kuwait “has demonstrated more humanity and leadership than hardly any other country”.

Joint efforts to achieve a peaceful solution to the conflict in Yemen

Steinmeier particularly emphasised his guest’s efforts with regard to Yemen. No country in the region has done more to pursue a peaceful solution to the conflict in Yemen, he said. Kuwait is “an important voice of reason and reconciliation”.

In Yemen, thanks to mediation efforts by the United Nations, a 72-hour ceasefire was at least negotiated that is due to begin today. Steinmeier and Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah agreed during their meeting that they would urge the parties to the conflict to respect the ceasefire. The suspension of fighting must be the first step of a road map that leads to a sustained ceasefire and, ultimately, a political settlement, the German Foreign Minister said.

Talks also addressed Ukraine

Looking ahead to the Normandy meeting that will be held this evening in Berlin, which will bring together Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine, Steinmeier and his Kuwaiti counterpart also addressed the conflict in Ukraine. “We are not out of the woods yet by a long stretch,” the German Foreign Minister said. “We must not let up in our efforts” to achieve a solution to the conflict, based on the Minsk agreements. He went on to say that progress had been far too slow, and talks had in part been tedious. However, some small steps have been taken in the right direction with regard to the disengagement of forces. Steinmeier said he was pleased about the Normandy meeting, “which could serve to revitalise, through discussions at the highest political level, both the talks and ongoing negotiations”.