International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, has conveyed South Africa’s sympathies amid Yemen’s deepening humanitarian crisis, sparked by the ongoing conflict in that country.
The Minister relayed this message during a virtual meeting with Yemen’s Foreign Minister, Dr Ahmed bin Mubarak, on Tuesday morning.
According to the department, the meeting was a positive engagement that sought to advance bilateral relations between South Africa and Yemen.
The two Ministers engaged in frank discussions on the political situation in Yemen and ways in which South Africa may offer its support.
“The Minister offered South Africa’s support to the Yemeni government and proposed to share the country’s expertise in conflict resolution and negotiation. Such assistance could be made available or facilitated by government or non-governmental organisations in support of either the United Nations mediation efforts or the Yemeni government itself.
“Similarly, Minister Ahmed bin Mubarak briefed Minister Pandor on the developments in Yemen, and informed South Africa of the Yemeni government’s continued commitment to the peace process and the United Nations mediation efforts,” said the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
Mubarak thanked Pandor for offering a helping hand and committed to engage further on the matter with the UN.
He also recalled the assistance provided by South African experts during the National Dialogue Conference in Yemen in 2013.
“Both Ministers reiterated the perspective that the Yemeni conflict can only be resolved through a peaceful negotiation process that focuses on the well-being of Yemen and its people,” the department said.
Shifting to bilateral relations, both nations focused on the conclusion of the Partnership Dialogue Agreement.
“Both Ministers noted the agreement could be concluded during 2021 and expressed their joint commitment to ensure that this is achieved,” the department said.
The meeting ended with both Ministers expressing their mutual appreciation for the meeting and said they wished to meet in person when the opportunity presents itself.
According to the UN, Yemen is in the midst of a protracted political, humanitarian and developmental crisis.
“With 24.1 million people – 80% of the population – in need of humanitarian aid and protection, it is now the largest humanitarian crisis in the world,” the UN said.
According to the intergovernmental organisation, more than 14 million people are in acute need, while more than three million have been displaced from their homes since 2015.