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Mike Wood: I welcome my right hon. Friend’s assurances of opposition to this terrible death penalty. What assessment have the Government made of the effects of the death of Ali Abdullah Saleh on the horrific crisis in Yemen and on the chances of a positive resolution?
Alan Duncan Minister of State
I hope the House will accept that what I am going to say are just my own thoughts, as someone who has taken an interest in Yemen for so long, rather than the official assessment of Her Majesty’s Government, because this is a fairly recent phenomenon. Whereas Ali Abdullah Saleh was working with the Houthis, he turned against them and there was a rather serious battle between the two sides, in which he died. What will now happen to the influence he wielded through the General People’s Congress and his own forces is difficult to assess at this early stage, but I suppose one can say that, at its simplest, it has probably reinforced the power of the Houthis. I hope that, from that position of strength, the Houthis might now be prepared to negotiate directly with Saudi Arabia and other interested parties, so that we can reach a political solution and put an end to this conflict.