2017 to date
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.
Letter to Rt Hon Theresa May, British Prime Minister 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
Contact made with Yemen Peace Project in the US www.yemenpeaceproject.org , who argue similar positions to YSPG on the food blockades and economic destruction
Presentation to Yemen Civil Society Event in London, with YSPG chairing the session on economic damage.
Briefing for 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.