UN Yemen Envoy Griffiths arrives in Sana'a

Sana'a (Debriefer)
2019-05-05 | Since 3 Week

The UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths

اضغط هنا لقراءة الخبر بالعربية

The UN special envoy for Yemen arrived Sunday at the Sana'a airport in unannounced visit to the Houthi-held capital.

Envoy Martin Griffiths has intensified his discussions with Houthi and government officials as part of efforts to help apply the Stockholm pact reached by Yemeni rivals,who agreed to withdraw their troops from Hodeida City and its three ports.

Last April, Griffiths expected two sides would start implementing the deal within weeks, after he had received official assent from the Saudi-backed government and Iranian-backed group to apply the redeployment first phase, while the second under discussion.

Yemen has been racked by bloody conflict between the government and Houthis who have taken over Sana'a the capital and most populated areas in the north since late in 2014, triggering what the UN calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Parties to the 4-year war in Yemen, following 8-day peace talks in Sweden, reached on the 13th of last December an agreement providing for ceasefire in Hodeida and redeployment of both sides' forces, exchanging prisoners and alleviating blockade imposed by Houthis on Taiz.

But none of this has taken place so far, with both sides trading blames for trying to thwart the deal.

The Red Sea 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 since last November seeking to retake the strategic port.

The government has repeatedly criticized the UN envoy over his dealing with Houthis and plans they say aimed at maintaining the rebels' control over the city ant ports.

Recently, the Yemeni Parliament Speaker has threatened to replace Griffiths, like former envoy Ismael Wald al-Sheikh who was changed on Houthi request, according to the Aden-based al-Ayam daily.

"The UN envoy meeting with Speaker Sultan al-Barakani has witnessed discords and threats," the paper quoted parliamentary source as saying.

Barakani has threatened to ask for Griffiths replacement, if the latter "doesn't change his pro-Houthi way in dealing" with the rebels, said the source.

According to the source, Speaker has said "Houthis stopped dealing with the UN [former] Envoy Wald al-Sheikh until his replacement, and we will do the same, since we are the stronger party in the equation."

Last Monday, Barakani accused Griffiths of deliberately "dividing Hodeida pact" after making it difficult to apply Stockholm Agreement, by dividing it into "timed stages Houthi have not abided by."

Yemeni members of the Parliament will discuss progress and viability of going ahead with political talks, the Speaker told the Arabic Independent paper.


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