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Below is a few minutes of a chat on the Senate floor between Senators Chris Murphy and Todd Young. This was a bipartisan discussion on the humanitarian situation in Yemen.
Press Release May 18, 2017:
U.S. Senators Todd Young and Chris Murphy discussed the humanitarian crisis in Yemen that is threatening the lives of millions of people. During a conversation on the Senate floor, more formally referred to as a “colloquy”, the Senators highlighted steps the government of Saudi Arabia should take to ensure that food and medical supplies can make it to Yemenis who are desperately in need of the aid. Young and Murphy called on the President to raise a number of specific issues with the Saudis during his upcoming trip.
Senator Chris Murphy (D- Connecticut)
“While we are focusing on the Saudis because we are part of this coalition, the Houthis do not have clean hands either. Part of the reason that humanitarian supplies are having a hard time getting to places that need it is because there are roadblocks put up by the Houthis as well.
And there is this known connection between the Houthis and the Iranians sometimes, in my opinion, a bit overplayed by some foreign policy thinkers, but it’s real. If the Houthis had nowhere to turn, then the calculation might be different, but because the Iranians are there as a support system to lean on, a continued military campaign against Hodeidah would push them into a corner and broaden the scope of the military conflict.
There ultimately has to be a political resolution here. By simply upping the military ante and continuing the humanitarian crisis, you get further away from that political negotiation table rather than closer to it.”
Senator Todd Young (R- Indiana)
“The last thing we want to do is exacerbate a situation where we already have 10 million desperate people on the cusp of starvation or passing away on the account of the lack of medical supplies. And so we need assistance here which is why it’s important for the president to elevate the importance of this issue in his conversation with the Saudis during his coming visit and I believe he’ll do so. We don’t want to be short-sighted with respect to a bombing of the port could catalyze.
We also need to recognize there are other players in the Saudi coalition. The Emirates have shown a willingness to be helpful on a couple of different fronts. I had the opportunity to visit with the crown prince yesterday and received his assurance that he would seek to resolve without delay a situation related to the forward stationing of inspectors in his country so that they could pre-inspect cargo before it goes into the port of Hodeidah. That would expedite the process and help mitigate a lot of the suffering. Also had the opportunity to discuss this issue of four cranes. US taxpayers paid for these cranes. I’ve heard from the crown prince, he made a commitment there as well. So I am grateful for his commitment and I look forward to following up with the UAE government on this front. They are good allies.”
“We can’t do everything as Americans, but we are the leader of the free world and we have an obligation to lead, and I don’t think we’ve been leading enough recently,” Young said in a telephone interview. “To the extent we can make a difference even on the margins here, we end up saving a million of 20 million at-risk human beings. What a wonderful thing that would be.”
“I have grave concerns the Saudi-led coalition in furtherance of their efforts to stabilize the region and to neutralize and eliminate the Iranian affiliated militants are going to instead exasperate the conflict.”
The full 30 minute colloquy by Senator Young: