December 21, 2017

Following Months-Long Campaign by Young, Saudi Arabia Says it will Suspend Yemen Starvation Blockade

Young: “I am monitoring the situation closely to ensure Riyadh fully honors its commitments”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following a months-long campaign by U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) to eliminate Saudi Arabia’s starvation blockade that has helped cause the world’s largest humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the government of Saudi Arabia yesterday announced that it is suspending key impediments to humanitarian assistance.  The Saudi government announced that it would allow desperately needed commercial food and fuel shipments and the delivery of U.S. funded cranes to Yemen’s most important port for humanitarian relief.   In response to the announcement by Saudi Arabia, Young issued the following statement yesterday:

“Following my efforts since March, I welcome the announcement that Saudi Arabia will finally suspend its starvation blockade of Yemen, and I am monitoring the situation closely to ensure Riyadh fully honors its commitments.  Unimpeded commercial food and fuel access and the delivery of the U.S.-funded cranes to the port of Hodeidah can save millions of lives.  I am grateful for the recent steps the Trump administration took to make clear to Riyadh that the use of food as a weapon of war is immoral, counterproductive, and illegal,” said Senator Young.  “If Saudi Arabia fails to implement its commitments or resumes its starvation blockade, I will work with the administration and my colleagues in Congress to implement relevant U.S. law,” Young continued.

According to a report published on December 4, 2017, by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, “17.8 million people in Yemen are food insecure. Out of this, approximately 8.4 million people are severely food insecure and at risk of starvation - a worrying increase of 24 percent.” 

Since March, Young has used letters to the administration and the Saudi governmentan administration nominationmultiple statementshearingsa Senate resolution, and countless meetings, briefings and phone calls with senior administration officials, Saudi officials, and leaders of the NGO community to demand an end to the Saudi starvation blockade in Yemen. 

Last week, Young sent a letter to President Trump thanking him for his December 6 statement and calling on the Saudis to take the steps announced today. 

On July 18, Senator Young chaired a Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee hearing entitled, “‘The Four Famines’:  Root Causes and a Multilateral Action Plan”

In April, Senator Young and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced a bipartisan resolution calling for an urgent and comprehensive diplomatic effort to address political obstacles that are preventing humanitarian aid from being delivered to tens of millions of people who desperately need it. The resolution calls on all parties to the conflicts to allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief for civilians in need. The full Senate passed the resolution in September. 

In April, Young led a bipartisan letter to the Saudi government calling on Riyadh to, among other steps, “eliminate unnecessary delays in the delivery of severely needed humanitarian and commercial supplies [and] facilitate the delivery of cranes to the port of Hodeidah to increase humanitarian aid and commercial capacity.”

In March, Young led and personally delivered a bipartisan letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calling for an urgent and comprehensive diplomatic effort to address political obstacles that are preventing humanitarian aid from being delivered to people who desperately need it.