EU foreign ministers to discuss Yemen conflict

EU foreign ministers meet in Brussels today.

Discussions will focus on developments in the Middle East, including the Israel-Gaza conflict and US-UK airstrikes last week against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz, Secretary General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan al Saud, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki are expected to participate in informal conversations with European ministers.

On January 12, the US and UK launched a series of airstrikes against Iran-backed Houthi insurgents in Iran in response to Houthi attacks on international shipping in the Red Sea.

Expect discussions to address the justification of these attacks and the role of the West in the Yemen conflict. Expect Saudi Arabia, leader of the pro-government and anti-Houthi coalition, to express support for the strikes while distancing from the alleged Houthi motive for attacking international shipping—i.e., to express solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza. Expect support from Israel as well, but do not expect this to have much of an effect on improving Israeli-Saudi relations given Saudi Arabia’s support of Palestinians in Gaza. Finally, expect calls from the other attending ministers for ceasefires in both Yemen and Gaza.


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