Theresa May has pledged £200 million in aid for Yemen, calling for renewed efforts to end the country’s brutal civil war.
Speaking at a summit in Egypt on Sunday, the prime minister said the new funding would be used to provide humanitarian aid for millions of people living without access to food or clean water.
Yemen – one of the poorest countries in the Arab world – has been devastated by fighting between warring factions since 2014, with the UN estimating that thousands of civilians have been killed and millions have been pushed to the brink of starvation.
May said that she would use this weekend’s meeting in Red Sea resort Sharm el-Sheikh to call on countries in Europe and in the Middle East to provide aid and support the peace process in the country.
“The situation in Yemen cannot go on,” she said, calling for a political settlement to “end the crisis and the suffering it has caused”.
“Real progress has been made to reach a political solution – but the window of opportunity is closing.” Leaders must now redouble efforts to built on the progress already made and put pressure on “all those involved in the conflict”.
May continued: “Forces from all sides need to start moving out of Hodeidah and follow through on plans for the exchange of prisoners.
“The ceasefire must be respected with parties exercising restraint. The Houthis must abide by their commitments.
“This is essential so progress can be made at the next round of peace talks and so humanitarian supply lines can be opened up.
“The UK has given its full backing to the United Nations-led peace process, and I want to continue to build international support for the tireless and vital work of the UN special envoy.”
The prime minister said she would also use the meeting in Egypt to reiterate to King Salman, the leader of Saudi Arabia, the importance of his country using its influence to encourage Yemeni parties towards peace.
“The UK – along with our European partners – also continues to call on Iran to support efforts to de-escalate the conflict and ensure the current ceasefire holds,” May added.
The PM also plans to use the two day EU-Arab summit to speak to other leaders ahead of an international conference on growth and opportunities in Jordan being held in London on Thursday.
She said: “Jordan is a longstanding friend and partner for the UK and a beacon of stability in the Middle East, playing a vital role in hosting refugees who have fled conflict in the region.”
There is set to be an aid conference in Geneva on Tuesday focused on how to help victims of the war in Yemen.