Procedure : 2015/2760(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0687/2015

Texts tabled :


Debates :

Votes :

PV 09/07/2015 - 12.6
CRE 09/07/2015 - 12.6
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0680/2015

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on the situation in Yemen (2015/2760(RSP))

Javier Couso Permuy, Paloma López Bermejo, Marie-Christine Vergiat, Malin Björk, Marina Albiol Guzmán, Ángela Vallina, Sabine Lösing, Kostas Chrysogonos, Stelios Kouloglou, Kostadinka Kuneva, Lidia Senra Rodríguez, Pablo Iglesias on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group

European Parliament resolution on the situation in Yemen (2015/2760(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to the Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Yemen signed in 1998 and to the EU Strategy Paper for Yemen for the period 2007-2013,

–       having regard to the statements on Yemen made by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, and by the UN’s Peace Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed,

–       having regard to the conclusions on Yemen of the EU Foreign Affairs Council of 20 April 2015,

–       having regard to the statements of the Vice-President / High Representative, in particular those of 9 June 2015, 23 November 2014 and 5 May 2014,

–       having regard to the Joint Statement on the crisis in Yemen by the Vice-President / High Representative and the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management of 3 July 2015,

–       having regard to the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, in particular resolutions 2201 (2015) of 15 February 2015, 2204 (2015) of 24 February 2015 and 2216 (2015) of 14 April 2015,

–       having regard to the resolution of Summit XXVI of the League of Arab States on the developments in Yemen,

–       having regard to its previous resolutions on Yemen,

–       having regard to its resolution of 27 February 2014 on the use of armed drones(1),

–       having regard to the Charter of the United Nations,

–       having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.     whereas the Houthis are a Zaidi Shia tribal group which was already engaged in fighting against the Yemeni Government between 2004 and 2010 and which has emerged as the single largest force in the country after taking over large swathes of territory in north and central Yemen; whereas the confrontation between the Houthis and the Yemeni Government restarted in early 2014 and led to the Houthis’ advance on Sana’a in August 2014;

B.     whereas, despite the signing of a UN-brokered agreement on 21 September 2014, the Houthis continued to consolidate their hold on power and territory; whereas in late 2014 the Houthis took over significant parts of the country, sparking months of clashes and the exile of Yemen’s internationally recognised president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi; whereas on 6 February 2015 the Houthis dissolved parliament and declared that a five-member presidential council would be formed;

C.     whereas Saudi Arabia is at the head of a coalition – backed by the United States and comprising the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan – which has been bombing Yemen since 26 March 2015 in a strike campaign aimed at restoring Hadi to power; whereas the Houthis are now allied with former president Saleh’s loyal forces; whereas Saudi Arabia has imposed a near-total blockade on Yemen, a country heavily reliant on imports; whereas the coalition’s blockade of fuel and the targeting of civil infrastructure are in violation of international humanitarian law;

D.     whereas the conflict has been depicted as one between Shias and Sunnis in an attempt to obscure the real reasons behind it; whereas Saudi Arabia accuses the Houthis of being backed by Iran and regards them as a threat to Saudi security; whereas the complexity of the conflict in Yemen has elements of a proxy war between the main regional powers – Saudi Arabia and Iran – in a country with a strong presence of Al-Qaeda groups and with separatist movements and Zaidi Shia rebels in the north and battles between the Houthis and armed groups in the south;

E.     whereas the conflict in the country has killed around 3 000 people; whereas the UN is urgently calling for a humanitarian pause in the fighting in Yemen, which would allow it to deliver help to the people in need, as the war in Yemen has just been classified in the most severe category of humanitarian crisis; whereas hundreds of thousands of refugees have managed to flee to neighbouring countries such as Saudi Arabia and Djibouti;

F.     whereas the humanitarian impact on the civilian population of the ongoing fighting between militias, and the bombardment and disruption of essential services has exacerbated an already dire humanitarian situation; whereas on 2 July 2015 the United Nations declared a level-3 crisis in Yemen, which is the highest-level humanitarian emergency; whereas the country is facing a humanitarian catastrophe, including a risk of famine, with 21 million people – 80 % of the population – in need of humanitarian assistance; whereas, according to UNICEF, millions of Yemeni children are at risk of malnutrition and preventable potentially fatal diseases such as measles and pneumonia;

G.     whereas the UN pushed for talks between the parties on issues such as the need for a ceasefire, an orderly withdrawal of forces, a UN monitoring mechanism, an agreement to comply with international humanitarian law and not to impede the deployment of aid, and a commitment to engage in further UN-brokered talks; these talks took place from 16 to 19 June in Geneva under the auspices of the UN and no agreement was reached; whereas air strikes have continued despite the UN’s appeal for all parties to observe a humanitarian pause to create a climate conducive to moving forward in the peace talks;

H.     whereas the EU has imposed an arms embargo and further targeted sanctions against a Houthi leader and the son of former president Saleh; whereas, at the same time, EU Member States such as the United Kingdom, Spain, France and Germany continue to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia;

I.      whereas on 30 June 2015 an estimated 1 200 inmates, including Al-Qaeda suspects, escaped from the central prison in the city of Taiz; whereas around 300 inmates had already escaped from another prison in Hadramout province in April; whereas terrorist attacks are taking place in Yemen, such as the 17 June attacks in Sana’a, including on three mosques, which resulted in a number of deaths and casualties;

J.      whereas the US holds the al-Annad military air base in Yemen near the southern city of al-Houta, where Americans have commanded drone strikes against suspected members of the local Al-Qaeda branch; whereas this US air base was attacked with rockets by Al-Qaeda in December 2014 in retaliation for a US raid; whereas US troops were evacuated on 21 March 2015 after Al-Qaeda seized a nearby town;

K.     whereas former president Saleh was regarded as a US ally and received millions of dollars in ‘counter-terrorism’ assistance and help to train the army; whereas those weapons were deployed against the Yemeni people and are now being used in clashes between various groups;

L.     whereas the British Ministry of Defence has confirmed that it is providing precision‑guided weapons, which Saudi Arabia is using in the ongoing war against Yemen; whereas Saudi Arabia is Britain’s largest customer for weapons, and the UK is the biggest supplier of weapons to Gulf Cooperation Council countries;

M.    whereas a growing wave of protests in Yemen was started by students at Sana’a University in 2011; whereas in March 2011 plainclothes snipers loyal to then-president Saleh fired into an anti-government demonstration, killing 52 people and sparking further demonstrations and protests calling for an end to the rule of Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was in power from 1978 to 2011; whereas security forces launched a crackdown which killed around 2 000 people;

N.     whereas in 2011 popular protests erupted in a number of countries in Northern Africa and the Middle East calling for employment, better living standards, social and labour rights, democracy and respect for human rights, as well as constitutional change; whereas in some of those countries the weakening of state structures have promoted the reinforcement of the role played by tribal and religious groups; whereas armed groups such as Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula or Anshar al-Sharia are profiting from this power vacuum;

O.     whereas Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the world, and whereas poverty and malnutrition is widespread in this country of 25 million people; whereas the geographical location of Yemen at the mouth of the Red Sea, which leads to the Suez Canal and opens onto the Gulf of Aden, holds strategic importance linked to significant maritime routes and energy resources;

1.      Is deeply concerned about the ongoing war in Yemen; condemns the use of violence against civilians by Houthi rebels, government forces, Al-Qaeda and other armed groups, which has led the country into a severe humanitarian crisis and resulted in a high number of civilians being wounded and killed, a high number of displaced persons and around 21 million Yemeni people in need of humanitarian aid; expresses its deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims;

2.      Calls on the Member States and the international community to urgently agree on UN‑led coordinated humanitarian action to address the humanitarian needs in Yemen, and urges all Member States to contribute to these efforts;

3.      Condemns the intervention by the Saudi-led alliance in Yemen, which aims to reinforce its control in the region; is convinced that this intervention will only bring more suffering to the Yemeni people and deeper division between religious groups in the Middle East; rejects any foreign military intervention in the country, be it Saudi or Iranian, Arab or Western; warns against the risk of going down the path of religious war; underlines that the war in Yemen is not simply a conflict between Shias and Sunnis; denounces the use of religious differences in instigating political crises and sectarian wars;

4.      Expresses deep concern at the ability of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to benefit from the deterioration of the political and security situation in Yemen, mindful that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, whenever, wherever and by whomsoever committed;

5.      Is convinced that there can only be a political solution to the conflict in Yemen; calls, therefore, for all parties in Yemen to refrain from provocations and all unilateral actions and to proceed to Yemeni-led inclusive negotiations to restore peace in the country; is convinced that any long-term solution should address the underlying causes of poverty and instability in the country, as well as meet the legitimate demands and aspirations of the Yemeni people;

6.      Reminds all parties of their responsibility to ensure compliance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law, which means protecting civilians, refraining from targeting civilian infrastructure and providing safe and unimpeded access to the country by humanitarian organisations; expresses grave concern over reports of the use of child soldiers by Houthi forces, Ansar Al-Sharia and government forces; calls for those responsible for violations and abuses of human rights or violations of international humanitarian law to be held accountable for their actions;

7.      Condemns the connivance and complicity of the European Union with dictatorships in the region; is highly critical of the role played by the various Western interventions of recent years in fostering the exacerbation of conflicts in the area; states that there can be no military solution to the conflicts in the region; rejects the use of the notion of ‘responsibility to protect’, as it violates international law and does not offer an adequate legal basis for justifying the unilateral use of force;

8.      Strongly criticises the intensive arms trade of EU Member States with various countries in the region, as in the case of the United Kingdom, Spain, France and Germany; calls on the Council in this connection to verify whether there have been breaches of the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports and to adopt measures to ensure that this code is fully respected by all the Member States;

9.      Firmly opposes the use of drones in extrajudicial and extraterritorial killings of terror suspects, and demands a ban on the use of drones for this purpose;

10.    Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European External Action Service, the governments of the Member States, the Government of Yemen and the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council and of the UN General Assembly.


Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0172.

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