Washington, DC –
U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, released the following statement after unanimous passage of Senate Resolution 341 – supporting peace, security, and innocent civilians affected by conflict in Yemen. Senator Cardin introduced the resolution with Senator Lugar last month:
“The Senate has united to express our concern over the prospects of Yemen becoming a failed state. It’s urgent that the United States and international community use all appropriate measures to help the people of Yemen address the severe security threats and the humanitarian crisis in their country.
“President Obama’s newly announced strategy to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan has repercussions for Yemen, where terrorists, including al-Qaeda, have sought refuge. The threat al-Qaeda and its allies pose in Yemen is alarming and must be given sufficient weight in our national security strategy, especially as violent extremists flee to Yemen from the Af-Pak region. Secretary Clinton and Secretary Gates mentioned Yemen at recent hearings on the President’s new Afghanistan strategy, and I look forward to further discussion of our approach toward Yemen as part of our global approach to combating al-Qaeda and other violent extremists.
“Aside from the urgent security threat, I’m also deeply concerned for the well-being of the people in Yemen. Up to 150,000 civilians have fled their homes since 2004 in response to conflict between government and al-Houthi rebel forces. Thousands of Yemenis remain displaced – some of whom urgently need medicine and drinking water.
“The combination of security threats and development challenges Yemen faces is unlike any other country in the world. I am pleased the Senate has acted unanimously to shine such a spotlight on this grave situation. Now, the United States, international community, and – most importantly – the people of Yemen must work together to address this crisis.”