Yemen: MEPs renew their call for an EU arms embargo against Saudi Arabia 

Press Releases 
  • Need to de-escalate the conflict and start new peace talks
  • MEPs call again for an EU arms embargo against Saudi Arabia
  • Demand for immediate and full humanitarian aid access

Alarmed by the threat of the world’s largest famine, MEPs call for a political solution to the conflict in Yemen and an EU arms embargo against Saudi Arabia.

In a resolution widely adopted on Thursday by 539 votes to 13, with 81 abstentions, MEPs condemn the ongoing violence in Yemen and stress that only a political, inclusive and negotiated solution to the conflict can restore peace. They call on all actors to act to de-escalate the conflict and to engage in a new round of UN-led peace negotiations.


They recall previous resolution on the humanitarian situation in Yemen of 25 February 2016, which calls on EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to launch an initiative to impose an EU arms embargo against Saudi Arabia, given the serious allegations of Saudi Arabia breaching international humanitarian law in Yemen. EU Member States have continued to authorise arms sales to Saudi Arabia since the conflict escalated, in violation of the Council Common Position on arms export controls, adds the adopted text. 

The text calls also on Iran to immediately cease providing support to Houthi forces in Yemen, either directly or through proxies. It condemns the indiscriminate coalition-led airstrikes leading to civilian casualties and similarly indiscriminate attacks by Houthi and allied forces that have resulted in the deaths of civilians and the use of hospitals and schools by these groups as bases from which to stage attacks.


Ms Mogherini should urgently propose an integrated EU strategy for Yemen and push again for a Yemeni peace initiative, MEPs call.


Threat of the world's greatest famine to date


The humanitarian situation in Yemen continues to be catastrophic, considered to be the ‘largest food-security emergency in the world’, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). MEPs urge the Saudi-led coalition to lift the blockade imposed on the country’s land, sea and air borders, which has led to the country deteriorating even further. Aid agencies have warned that, if the blockade is not lifted, Yemen will face the largest famine the world has seen for decades, with millions of victims, MEPs underline. They call for "immediate and full humanitarian access to the conflict-affected areas".

 Quick facts


20.7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Yemen, one of the world’s poorest nations, which has been devastated by a civil war between a Saudi-led coalition and the Iranian-allied Houthi rebels for more than two years. While ground fighting continues to rage in parts of the country, the threat of famine is increasing, creating the world’s largest food-security emergency. UN-led peace talks ended in August 2016 with no agreement and have been frozen since then.