Yemeni government fighters wait on the front line in battle against Shiite-Houthi rebels outside of Sana’a, Yemen. (Photographer: Glen Carey/Bloomberg)  

U.K.’s May Calls on Saudi King Salman to Help End Yemen Crisis

(Bloomberg) -- U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is calling on Saudi King Salman to do more to end the civil war in Yemen that has left millions facing starvation.

May will use a visit to the European Union-League of Arab States summit in Egypt to step up the pressure on Saudia Arabia to do more to push for a lasting peace, while urging Iran to help ensure the ceasefire holds.

“The situation in Yemen cannot go on,” May said on the way to the summit in the Sharm el-Sheikh on Sunday. “I will also use this summit to reiterate to King Salman the importance of Saudi Arabia continuing to use their influence to encourage the Yemeni parties towards peace.”

The gathering in the Red Sea resort comes against a backdrop of diplomatic tensions between the EU and Saudi rulers over the murder of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey in October. May sought to twin her call for Saudi action with the promise of a commitment to supporting the kingdom’s security.

“I will underline the U.K.’s ongoing commitment to the security of Saudi Arabia and the region,” the premier said.

With Yemen on the brink of famine and millions in need of humanitarian assistance, the U.K. government is concerned that momentum may stall after the first peace talks were held in Stockholm in December.

May also announced the U.K. will pledge 200 million pounds ($261 million) in new funding to provide immediate and lifesaving humanitarian aid for millions who are living without access to food or clean water in Yemen.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.