Department Press Briefing – November 21, 2017

Heather Nauert
Department Press Briefing
Washington, DC
November 21, 2017

QUESTION: Yes. Moving over to Yemen, David Beasley of the World Food Program says the Saudi-led coalition is using food as a weapon of war. What is the State Department’s stance on that? Is there any consideration of pressuring the Saudis to open up, with the threat of famine that’s very real?

MS NAUERT: Right. A horrific situation that is going on in Yemen. It is something that our team has watched very closely. The ambassador to Yemen and I were exchanging emails just yesterday about the situation on the ground there. He is not in Yemen right now because we don’t have that operation there, but he recently visited to take a look himself.

I can tell you we’re working very closely with the Government of Saudi Arabia – as you well know, we have a good relationship with the Government of Saudi Arabia – to try to encourage better humanitarian assistance.

We recognize the food and the aid and the supplies that are needed in Yemen. The Government of Saudi Arabia has assured us that all the ports under control of the Government of Yemen have been opened to humanitarian aid and access. We have concerns, certainly, that that’s not moving quickly enough. I mean, you saw the pictures on 60 Minutes – many of us did – about the dire situation, especially for young, young children, and how terrible that is.

So we’ll continue to have conversations, and those conversations, I can assure you, are happening between our government and the Government of Saudi Arabia to try to facilitate better and faster humanitarian assistance.

QUESTION: Thank you.‎