2018 to date
Meetings with and briefing for Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell, MP, former Secretary of State for International Development, and the only British MP to have visited Sana’a since the conflict began. He organised the House of Commons discussion on Yemen in late 2017.
Continued dialogue with Crisis Action (the NGO network) in UK https://crisisaction.org , who ran a successful campaign gaining support for a strong statement on Yemen, the blockade and arms trade, from over 350 public figures from Yemen and the international community
Dialogue with Yemen Peace Project in US www.yemenpeaceproject.org , who have been active in seeking a resolution in Congress to shift the US position on the Yemen war
Engagement through intermediaries with Mark Lowcock, incoming UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs on safe passage issues and the strengthening of UNVIM
Two letters to Rt Hon Theresa May, British Prime Minister: the first in March arguing need for a new UN Security Council Resolution, for Hodeidah Port to be managed as a safe area, and for support for IFC’s scheme to ensure key salaries and welfare payments are made while creating financial guarantees for food importers; the second in December urging the drafting of a new resolution to replace the dated UNSCR 2216
Briefing sent to MPs at time of UK Parliamentary debate on Yemen, and YSPG positions argued at discussions of All Party Parliamentary Group on Yemen (both in early July). Detailed support and practical options given to the idea of Hodeidah as a Safe Port at time when the military threat against this lifeline for food and aid imports was at its highest.
Meeting with Rt Hon Alistair Burt, Minister of State for the Middle East at DFID and FCO, following more detailed discussions with relevant FCO staff
Introductory contact made with Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of British Labour Party and the official Opposition, who has been active in speaking on the contradictions of British policy towards Saudi Arabia in particular in regard to the Yemen war and humanitarian disaster
Discussions with Deep Root Consulting, Sana’a and Oxford, over factors influencing the price of basic foodstuffs in Yemen, delays involved in the food pipeline, both at ports of entry and on land, and effectiveness of UNVIM
Consultations with range of experts over smuggling routes for arms, and the incentive this creates for prolonging the war. Discussions with Satellite Catapult in Didcot over potential for better information on illegal and suspicious vessels
Presentation to Yemen Civil Society Event in London, with YSPG chairing the session on economic damage
Presentation to Adalah, Yemen’s first Legal NGO, www.adalahyemen.com aimed at promoting human rights and the rule of law, with offices in Sana’a, London and Washington
Contact maintained with Yemen Peace Project in the US www.yemenpeaceproject.org , who argue similar positions to YSPG on the food blockades and economic destruction
Ongoing briefings and discussions with incoming British Ambassador to Yemen, Simon Shercliff, and presentation of YSPG positions amid mounting concern over HMG’s failure to use its influence successfully in constraining its allies
Discussions with UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, especially over Coalition refusal to allow landing of replacement cranes into Hodeidah port
Discussions with Yemeni importers and major business in Yemen – Hayel Saeed Anam Group, Fahem and Thabet Bros International – over obstacles faced by their operations in Yemen (including bombing of some facilities) and over import of food
Discussions with Chairman and MPs in the Yemen All Party Parliamentary Group, and formal submission on blockade / safe passage issues [see letter containing our proposals]. The proposals we made featured prominently in the APPG recommendations to Parliament [see APPG’s Conflict in Yemen: The Forgotten Crisis, 22nd October 2015], especially our recommendations on a UN Verification and Inspection operation, which subsequently became UNVIM, as a way to open up the Coalition naval blockade of imports.
Meeting with Prince Turki Bin Faisal (Saudi ‘elder statesman’ and former Ambassador to both UK and US) and other members of that part of the Saudi Royal Family – at the time of the launch of the Arabic translation of ‘Rebuilding Yemen’ in Riyadh. Concerns communicated over Coalition blockade of ports
Meetings with senior staff of King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS) in Riyadh, who have researchers working on issues relating to development and the reconstruction of Yemen
Communications with senior contacts in the US, including an injection of ideas via David Milliband, who, through his organisation IRC, was coordinating the NGO response at the time of the UN General Assembly and meetings ‘in the margins’.
In US, contact also made with Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Director, US National Security Council (NSC)
Meeting with Sir Alan Duncan, UK’s Special Envoy to Yemen, who wrote in forthright terms about Yemen’s plight and spoke directly to senior figures in Saudi and the Gulf
Meeting with Rt Hon Desmond Swayne, DFID Minister, an encouraging and frank discussion involving the DFID senior Yemen team, on overcoming the challenges of aid delivery in the midst of military conflict
Meetings with Edmund Fitton-Brown, UK Ambassador to Yemen, who has proved generous with his time and sharing of key contacts.