Yemen is 'the biggest humanitarian disaster in the world'

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Yemen is ‘the biggest humanitarian disaster in the world’

Deutsche Welle

Yemen is the biggest humanitarian disaster in the world
Yemen is ‘the biggest humanitarian disaster in the world’. picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Al Zekri
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What began four years ago as a civil war in Yemen has now become a war of proxy and intervention, especially between the Middle Eastern powers Saudi Arabia and Iran. About 10,000 people have been killed so far. Half of Yemen’s 28 million inhabitants face famine. Thousands more people are trying to flee. Peace talks between the government and the Houthi rebels have repeatedly failed.

A few hours before the start of peace talks in Stockholm on Thursday, Yemen’s government and the Houthi rebels once again outdid each other with demands and threats.

Karl-Otto Zentel, the general secretary of the aid organization Care Deutschland, spoke with DW about the civil war and the chances for peace.

DW: How likely is a successful outcome from the Yemen peace talks in Stockholm?

Karl-Otto Zentel: For the first time since 2016, the parties involved in the conflict have agreed to hold talks. That alone is the first success. Peace always requires a first step, and both parties repeatedly refused to do so over the past two years. But, if these talks do not lead to improved conditions for the people in Yemen, there will be no success.

Read more: Wounded Houthi rebels to be evacuated from Yemen ahead of peace talks in Sweden

How do you assess the role of arms manufacturers such as Germany’s Rheinmetall, which supply the warring parties with weapons?

We readily welcomed the halt of arms exports to Saudi Arabia. We were, however, disappointed afterward when it became known that it would only apply for two months.

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