On 30th October 2019 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a question about the situation in Yemen, on behalf of the Bishop of St Albans, who was unable to attend:
Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the deal brokered by the government of Saudi Arabia in Yemen and the prospects for lasting peace there.
Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in the name of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of St Albans, who apologises for the fact that he cannot be in his place today.
The Earl of Courtown (Con): My Lords, the UK welcomes signs of progress through the Saudi-led talks to bring together the Government of Yemen and the Southern Transitional Council to reach a peaceful settlement following the clashes in Aden in August. This has further demonstrated the need for inclusive political talks through the UN-led peace process. The UK urges all parties to engage constructively with the UN special envoy Martin Griffiths to broker a sustainable peace for all of Yemen.
Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his response and I share his support for any initiative that brings peace to Yemen, but this deal brokered by the KSA brings only limited opportunities for a peaceful future in the region. After four years and seven months, almost 100,000 people have died—84,000 children from starvation, and 2,500 from cholera. What pressure are Her Majesty’s Government putting on Saudi and Emirati opposites to secure an immediate cessation to the wider war in Yemen?
The Earl of Courtown (Con): My Lords, the right reverend Prelate makes good points about the situation in Yemen. He mentioned cholera: 670,000 suspected cases were recorded in the past year. We must be clear that, from the outset, the only solution to the crisis in Yemen is a political one. A political settlement is the only way to bring long-term stability to Yemen and address the worsening humanitarian crisis. We continually put pressure on our colleagues and the various people involved in the conflict to agree and stand by the UN Security Council special envoy Martin Griffiths, who is currently discussing with the parties the timing and details of the next round of peace talks. In the meantime, it is vital that all parties abide by agreements made in Stockholm and work with the special envoy to continue to build confidence and make progress on the political situation.