Yemeni VP urges UN to pressure Houthis into lifting Hajoor siege

UN envoy: we're before last chance to apply peace deal

Riyadh (Debriefer)
2019-03-05 | Since 3 Month

Griffiths meeting with Yemeni vice-president in Riyadh, Tuesday

اضغط هنا لقراءة الخبر بالعربية

We are standing now at last chance to implement Stockholm Agreement, said the UN especial envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths.

The Aden-based Saba News Agency quoted Griffiths as calling upon all parties to further cooperation in order to implement the stalled pact to end Yemenis' sufferings.

At his meeting with the Yemeni Vice-president Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar, the UN envoy said the meeting was aimed at discussing available chances to make progress towards applying Sweden understandings, appreciating the flexibility demonstrated by the Yemeni government.

Griffiths echoed warning uttered by his country's Foreign Secretary about the last chance at his Sunday visit to Aden.

"We are now in the last chance saloon for the Stockholm peace process," said Jeremy Hunt. More than 80 days have passed since the Sweden Agreement, but still unapplied by two sides. "Hodeida port had to be cleared from militias and forces and to become under neutral control by January. The process could be dead within weeks if we do not see both sides sticking to their commitments in Stockholm."

The UK FM called upon warring parties in Yemen to rabidly implement the UN-brokered agreement they reached at peace talks last December in Sweden.

The Yemeni vice-president told Griffiths that his government was determined to finalize Hodeida deal providing for Houthi withdrawal and submission of ports to local and security authorities, as such steps "are main gate to any new talks."

Ahmar blamed international community for silence and failure to take a stance on Houthi obduracy and persistent postponed withdrawal from Hodeida, calling on the UN to pressure the rebels into fulfilling "deals and UNSC resolutions and entering in peace to end Yemenis' sufferings."

The legitimate government is willing to open safe corridors for food supplies to be taken out of the Red Sea Mills and delivered to people in need, VP added.

He also urged the UN to "pressure Houthi militias into ending siege imposed on Hajoor and their crimes against Yemenis across Yemen," according to Saba.

Yemen has been racked by an armed conflict that broke out after the Iranian-backed Houthis had ousted the internationally recognized government late in 2014, leaving tens of thousands killed, hundreds of thousands injured, and 3 million displaced.

Parties to the nearly 4-year war in Yemen, after 8 days of peace talks in Sweden, agreed on the 13th of last December to cease fire in Hodeida, to withdraw all fighters from the port city and ports of Hodeida, Salif and Ras Isa, to deploy neutral local troops instead under UN supervision and to allow for humanitarian access, as part of confidence-building measures paving the way for wider truce and political negotiations.

But this has yet to take place, with both sides trading blames for trying to thwart the deal.

The city of Hodeida and its ports have been under Houthi control since late 2014, while Yemeni joint forces loyal to legitimate government and Arab coalition have massed at the city's fringes seeking to retake the strategic port.

Houthis have started a widespread offensive since last January on Hajoor tribal areas, amid strong resistance by tribesmen who have repelled rebel control, with Saudi-led coalition warplanes backing the tribes and launching periodic strikes on Houthi reinforcements and equipment.

Houthi forces could not take control over Hajoor tribal areas, despite the rebel siege of the district and their large masses that opened new fronts with tribesmen fortified in rugged mountains.

Yemen conflict escalated after a Saudi-led coalition intervened militarily in the country in March 2015 to reinstate the government of President Hadi, triggering hard humanitarian conditions and the world's worst humanitarian crisis, according to the UN, with most of the population in need for a type of humanitarian aid and immediate protection, including 8.4 million people unsure how to get next meal, and some 2 million children suffering severe shortage of nutrition.

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