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 Full text 
Tuesday, 2 October 2018 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Situation in Yemen (debate)

  Christos Stylianides, Member of the Commission, on behalf of the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. – Mr President, as I underlined in my opening remarks, in Yemen, we face not a regular humanitarian crisis, but a real humanitarian catastrophe. As I have always said, unfortunately, in humanitarian problems and in humanitarian crises, we do not have humanitarian solutions – we have only political solutions. This is why, as the European Union, we focus on some initiatives, diplomatic initiatives, including behind the scenes, to promote a ceasefire across Yemen, and of course, above all, our strategy remains peace in this very painful situation in Yemen. We have made a lot of diplomatic efforts and taken a lot of initiatives, but up till now the situation remains as you describe.

I heard many suggestions from you regarding the situation, but you know that in such a situation, you have to be pragmatic. We have to see the situation on the ground and our role as the European Union, as a regional and global actor, in order to be and to stay result oriented. Frankly, what I see in Yemen, what I can handle every day, is a very painful experience, as my compatriot Takis Hadjigeorgiou said, but at the same time, I would like to remind you that in some critical decisions, including inside our institutions, especially within the European Council, we need unanimity. So you can imagine that it is not easy to find common European positions in many of our efforts, initiatives or decisions. We have to continue to provide humanitarian and development assistance. I already gave you specific figures about our contribution in this difficult situation. We remain the biggest humanitarian and development donor in Yemen, but we have to accept the hard reality: our efforts and our initiatives to change the situation on the ground, unfortunately, have limits.

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