After a months of increasing violence, there has been some positive momentum in recent weeks with regard to the ongoing conflict in Yemen. Nevertheless, the situation remains grave. Ireland and the EU have been clear from the beginning that this crisis can only be solved by political means, and that efforts to impose a military solution will be both fruitless and dangerous. We fully support the efforts of the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, to bring about a political resolution, starting with the implementation of the December 2018 Stockholm Agreement, which was signed by the Government of Yemen and the Houthi de facto authorities.
The UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths provides a monthly briefing to the UN Security Council on the situation. In his most recent briefing in October 2019, UNSE Griffiths welcomed fragile signs of hope for the suffering people of Yemen. He pointed to the recent reduction in violence in the north of the country, and promising measures adopted such as the release of a number of detainees by the Houthis.
Since then, the Riyadh Agreement brokered by Saudi Arabia on 5 November 2019 between the Government of Yemen and the Southern Transitional Council is also a welcome development. It is imperative that the Government of Yemen return to Aden in order for state institutions to become fully functional again.
These positive developments, however, take place in the context of extreme human suffering. Almost 80% of the population of Yemen remains in need of humanitarian assistance. The EU is a very significant donor to Yemen, and has contributed over €700 million in development and humanitarian assistance to the country since the crisis began in 2015, of which €440 million was humanitarian aid. In addition to contributing our national share to these EU funds, on a bilateral basis Ireland has provided €21.5 million in humanitarian assistance in Yemen since 2015.
EU Foreign Ministers discussed the situation in Yemen twice this year, and our support for the UN process has been unequivocal. UNSE Griffiths has thanked the EU for its support in getting the parties to the table and sustaining the political pressure, saying it would not have been possible to reach agreement in Stockholm without the EU.
Ireland, the UN, the EU, and the wider international community will continue to work to alleviate the humanitarian crisis and press for a political solution for the people of Yemen.