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Germany to participate in United Nations mission

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Bundeswehr in Yemen Germany to participate in United Nations mission

Germany will participate in the United Nations Mission to support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA). The Federal Cabinet has decided to deploy Bundeswehr soldiers and police officers as unarmed observers for the mission in Yemen.

2 min reading time

Locals inspect the wreckage of a house which was hit during an air raid by the Saudi-led military coalition.

The ceasefire in Hodeidah is key to alleviating the humanitarian disaster in Yemen.

Photo: picture alliance / Hani Al-Ansi

With this decision, the Federal Government has responded to a request from the United Nations (UN).

Bundeswehr in Yemen

The mandate is initially valid for six months until mid-July. As a first step, Germany will send an unarmed and plain-clothes Bundeswehr soldier. The officer will fill the post of "Chief Assessment UNMHA" and assist the United Nations Mission to support the Hodeidah Agreement. In principle, the decision authorises the deployment of up to five soldiers and five police officers. 

The United Nations Mission to support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNHMA) was established by a UN Security Council resolution adopted on 16 January 2019. It serves to implement the agreement reached between the Government of the Republic of Yemen and the Houthi militia in Stockholm in December 2018, covering the city and port of Hodeidah, as well as the ports of Salif and Ras Issa.

Securing ceasefire in Hodeidah

In addition to Germany, the countries Denmark, Portugal, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Italy are already participating as the European partners in the mission. There are currently around 30 personnel deployed in the framework of the UNMHA.

Federal Foreign Minister Maas emphasised: "The ceasefire in Hodeidah is and remains crucial – for the launch of a political peace process, for the opportunity of agreeing on a nationwide ceasefire, and for alleviating the humanitarian disaster in Yemen. It is therefore right for us to contribute to this effort by providing German experts."

The involvement of German soldiers in the UNHMA does not constitute a "deployment of armed forces" within the scope of the Parliamentary Participation Act. It therefore requires no mandate from the German Bundestag (federal parliament).

Precarious situation in Yemen

After more than four years of military confrontation, Yemen is experiencing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. According to the UN, millions of people do not have access to adequate supplies, and 250,000 are at risk of starvation. 

In Stockholm in December 2018, talks brokered by the UN led to a resumption of negotiations between the Yemeni parties to the conflict. With the agreement on a ceasefire for the governorate of Hodeidah, hopes have arisen for easing of the dramatic humanitarian situation in Yemen. The implementation of the agreement remains fragile. 

The UNMHA is a special political mission mandated under Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter for the peaceful settlement of disputes. The UNMHA is an unarmed and civilian political special mission of the United Nations in Yemen. It has no authority to take enforcement measures.