France expresses concern to Saudi Arabia about Yemen’s humanitarian situation

Saudi Arabia – Reply by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs to a written question in the National Assembly

(Paris, 29 October 2019)

France maintains a demanding dialogue with Saudi Arabia on human rights and the death penalty.

As regards the Khashoggi affair, France is asking for the facts to be clearly established on this extremely serious matter and for all the necessary investigations to be carried through to the end. The French President has clearly expressed this expectation.

Yemen is also regularly discussed with the Saudi authorities. France is very concerned about the humanitarian situation in that country. All in all, 24 million people – i.e. nearly 80% of the population – today need humanitarian aid, and 2.4 million people are still displaced inside the country.

France constantly asks the parties to respect the principles of international humanitarian law in the conduct of hostilities, particularly the principle of proportionality. As party to an armed conflict, the coalition has responsibilities in this respect. France maintains a regular dialogue with it on respect for international humanitarian law. These messages have been passed at the highest level to the Saudi and Emirati representatives.

France has also stepped up the level of vigilance in its procedure to review export licence applications in this context. Export licences are issued under the Prime Minister’s responsibility, following the opinion of the interministerial commission for scrutinizing war material exports. Licences are issued in strict adherence to France’s international obligations, inter alia the provisions of the Arms Trade Treaty and the eight criteria in [EU] Council Common Position 2008/944, following a meticulous case-by-case examination. The assessment takes particular account of the nature of the material, the end user, respect for human rights in the country of final destination and respect by that country of international humanitarian law, as well as the preservation of peace, security and regional stability.

Finally, France is mobilizing actively to allow full, safe, unhindered humanitarian access to the people affected, and fully supports the return of the parties to the negotiating table, with a view to reaching a comprehensive, inclusive political agreement, with due regard for Yemen’s territorial integrity.

The worsening security situation and weakening of the Yemeni State are playing into the hands of the terrorist groups in the country, particularly Daesh [so-called ISIL] and AQAP (al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula). This is why, as a matter of urgency, the conflict must be ended by implementing an inclusive political solution.

So France will continue to call on all the parties to commit resolutely to the path of a political settlement, and it fully supports the efforts and diplomatic action deployed in this respect by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen./.

Yemen – Reply by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs to a written question in the National Assembly

Paris, 29 October 2019

France is very concerned about the conflict under way in Yemen. It urges all the parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law in the conduct of hostilities – in the first place, the principles of distinction [between civilians and combatants] and proportionality.

It is an issue France is tackling with members of the coalition, which, as party to an armed conflict, has responsibilities in this respect. It has also urged all the parties to carry out transparent, impartial and credible investigations into violations of international humanitarian law and human rights in Yemen, in accordance with international standards, and bring the perpetrators to justice. It is paying the closest attention to the work begun by the United Nations mechanisms for monitoring the human rights situation in Yemen.

France has also stepped up the level of vigilance in its procedure to review export licence applications in this context. Export licences are issued under the Prime Minister’s responsibility, following the opinion of the interministerial commission for scrutinizing war material exports. Licences are issued in strict adherence to France’s international obligations, inter alia the provisions of the Arms Trade Treaty and the eight criteria in [EU] Council Common Position 2008/944, following a case-by-case examination.

The assessment takes particular account of the nature of the material, the end user, respect for human rights in the country of final destination and respect by that country of international humanitarian law, as well as the preservation of peace, security and regional stability.

Finally, France is mobilized to facilitate full, safe, unhindered humanitarian access to the people in need. It calls for an end to hostilities to allow the parties to return to the negotiating table with a view to reaching a comprehensive, inclusive political agreement. The worsening security situation and weakening of the Yemeni State are playing into the hands of the terrorist groups in the country, particularly Daesh [so-called ISIL] and AQAP (al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula). Only a political solution will make it possible to end the suffering of civilians.

So France will continue to call on all the parties to commit resolutely to the path of a political settlement, and it fully supports the efforts and diplomatic action deployed in this respect by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen./.

Image: Ibrahem Qasim

Published on 31/10/2019

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