Maas calls on international, regional powers to use influence on parties to conflict to achieve progress in peace talks

German FM warns of humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen

By Ayhan Simsek

BERLIN

Yemen will face a humanitarian catastrophe if the UN-sponsored peace talks fail, the German foreign minister said on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters in Italy’s Milan, Heiko Maas called on international and regional powers to use their influence on the parties to the conflict to achieve progress for a ceasefire and unhindered humanitarian access.

“Otherwise many, many people would die there, we must prevent this under all circumstances,” he stressed.

Representatives of the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels are meeting in Sweden this week for UN-sponsored talks aimed at ending the four-year conflict in the impoverished country.

Yemen has been wracked by violence since 2014, when the Houthi rebel group overran much of the country and the crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.

Saudi Arabia and Sunni allies accuse the Houthis of acting as a proxy force for Shia Iran.

Tens of thousands of people, including civilians, are believed to have been killed and the UN estimates that around 14 million Yemenis are at risk of famine.