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Cardin: Widespread Human Suffering in Yemen Reaches Catastrophic Level

Senator calls on Saudi-led Coalition to allow unfettered humanitarian access, asks international community to hold Iran accountable for destabilizing role

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement Tuesday regarding the humanitarian situation in Yemen and Saudi Arabia’s role:

“Saudi Arabia’s announcement that they will begin reopening air and seaports in areas controlled by the Yemeni government is a positive first step to ending the Yemen blockade. However, I remain deeply troubled that ports and airports in the north—where the majority of Yemenis live—will remain closed, including the Sanaa airport and the port of Hodeida.  These access points are a critical lifeline for millions of Yemenis in desperate need of assistance. I urge the Saudi-led Coalition to work with the U.S., the UN, and other committed partners to take the necessary steps to reopen all ports and airports and prevent a further deterioration of an already desperate humanitarian crisis.

“Moreover, last week’s ballistic missile attack on Saudi Arabia has Iranian finger prints all over it and is further evidence that Iran is a regional aggressor and unwilling to join the community of nations.  Iranian support to the Houthis must stop.  The United States should work with its partners in the Middle East and in the UN Security Council to send a clear signal to Iran that its violations of UN Security Council Resolutions will not be tolerated.  Iranian activity in Yemen is contributing to this civil conflict, perpetuating the suffering of the Yemeni people, and preventing progress toward a political dialogue to end the war.

“The people of Yemen are facing a catastrophic humanitarian crisis.  At least 17 million people are hungry, and more than a third of those individuals are close to famine. At least 400,000 children suffer from severe malnutrition and require therapeutic treatment to stay alive. The country is facing a devastating cholera outbreak that has sickened nearly one million people.  All parties to this conflict must take immediate steps to facilitate the resumption of full humanitarian access.”