UN raises $2 billion in Yemen appeal

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Khaled Al-Jarallah

GENEVA: Kuwait is pledging $250,000 to international relief aid efforts in Yemen this year, said a Kuwaiti top diplomat yesterday. During the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ (OCHA) 2018 Yemen High-Level Pledging Event, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Khaled Al-Jarallah said that this donation would hopefully help the Yemenis survive the upheavals they are facing in their country. The donation came in line with His Highness the Amir of Kuwait and UN humanitarian leader Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s directives to aid the fellow Yemenis, said Al-Jarallah who indicated that the pledge came on time especially with the nearing of the month of Ramadan in mid-May.
The Kuwaiti top diplomat said that his country took all necessary steps to find a resolution to the Yemeni crisis, indicating that several inter-Yemeni meetings were organized by Kuwait to find a political solution to the dilemma. He said that the solution to the Yemeni crisis must be based on the tenets of the GCC peace initiative, the results of the national Yemeni dialogue, and UNSC resolution 2216 regarding the end of violence in Yemen. Al-Jarallah called on the Houthi militias to abide by international laws and stressed that national unity is the only way to end the situation in Yemen.

The top diplomat took the chance to condemn the Houthi’s ballistic missile attacks launched from Yemeni territories towards Saudi Arabia, affirming that Kuwait was against such vile acts. Al-Jarallah urged the international community to gather three billion dollars to support relief aid efforts in Yemen this year, saying that it is a humanitarian obligation. Al-Jarallah thanked the Saudi-led Arab coalition for Yemen in its efforts to provide assistance to the Yemenis and also expressed gratitude towards the Swiss Confederation, Kingdom of Sweden, and OCHA for organizing the one-day high-level pledging event.

UN raises $2 billion
Meanwhile, the United Nations raised more than $2 billion yesterday to help civilians in Yemen, with half the funds pledged by governments that are bombarding the war-ravaged country. UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres hailed the donor conference in Geneva as a “remarkable success”. The target for the 2018 Yemen humanitarian appeal was set at $2.96 billion (2.4 billion euros). Guterres told reporters that in addition to the $2 billion already committed, multiple countries had promised more donations in the coming months, leaving him “optimistic that we will be able to reach the level that corresponds to the needs”.

Last year’s Yemen appeal for $2.5 billion, which was 73 percent funded, but the needs have intensified in a country battered since 2015 by a Saudi-led military offensive aimed at repelling Iran-backed Huthi rebels who control the capital. The UN has labeled Yemen “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis” and said that three-quarters of its population-around 22 million people-need some form of aid.

Pay for what you break?
Saudi Arabia and its allies have repeatedly been accused of hitting civilians targets including hospitals and markets in their three-year campaign against the Houthis. The kingdom and its coalition partner, the United Arab Emirates, were also the largest donors at yesterday’s conference, jointly pledging $1 billion in humanitarian relief, according to figures provided by the UN. Asked if he saw a contradiction in the Saudi stance towards Yemen, Guterres said a country’s humanitarian commitments and military actions should be kept separate.

“We all know that there is a war. We all know who the parties (are) to the war but the two things need to be seen separately,” the UN chief told reporters. “Independent of the fact that there is a war, there are humanitarian obligations that are assumed by countries,” he said. “The countries that are also party to the conflict were party to these international efforts to support the people of Yemen.” Guterres underscored that the only way to ensure that Yemen donor conferences do not continue year after year is for the sides to negotiate a peace deal.

“There was never a humanitarian solution for any humanitarian crisis,” he said. “The solution has always been political” The UN’s Yemen envoy, Martin Griffiths, has recently visited Riyadh and Sanaa in hopes of revitalizing sputtering peace talks. “I believe there is an opportunity and that opportunity must be seized,” Guterres said, explaining that Griffiths was “encouraged” by his trip and sees a window for further talks. – Agencies