Yemen gov't rejects Hodeida's UN management, attacks Griffiths

Riyadh (Debriefer)
2019-05-17 | Since 3 Month

Khaled al-Yamani

اضغط هنا لقراءة الخبر بالعربية

The Yemeni internationally-recognized government said Thursday it rejects the UN management of the Hodeida three ports, after it strongly criticized on Wednesday the UN envoy's briefing to the Security Council.

The letter of Envoy Martin Griffiths had nothing new or significant on the current situation, said government Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani.

"Western countries direct the especial envoy asthey see on Yemeni issue," he told the Saudi Asharq Al-Awsat. So, "what he said was far away from the reality, and he addressed marginal issues unrelated to the core matter."

Yemeni government has been "familiar to such letters from the envoy, and this has been his way in dealing with events," FM added.

Yemen has been racked by a 4-year bloody conflictbetween the internationally-recognized Yemeni government's forces, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, and the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels who ousted the government in 2014.

Minister Yamani said the UN "thinks it would manage the ports instead of the official corporations," but this question "has yet to be decided, as the issue of the local authority and security will be discussed in the next stage" under Stockholm Agreement.

"Nothing official has been received by the government from the international organization saying that Houthi militias handed the port or that the militias are committed to Hodeida pact," said he.

The Yemeni government has repeatedly said the triple-machine adopted by the Hodeida Redeployment Coordination Committee means any withdrawal should be verified by all; the government, UN and Houthis.

On Wednesday, Envoy Griffiths said there were worrisome signs over the conflict in Yemen, despite the first concrete step in the Red Sea city of Hodeida.

Yemen is still at crossroads between war and peace, despite the progress made in the last days, after Houthi forces had redeployed from the ports of Hodeida, Salif and Ras Isa, Griffiths added in his briefing to the UN Security Council. While ceasefire remains standing in Hodeida, there is worrying escalation of conflict in many aspects.

Change in Hodeida is now a reality, and there are signs of new start in Hodeida, he said. "Between 11 and 14 May, Ansar Allah had undertaken initial redeployment from the three ports under UN monitoring," and Houthi forces "had left those three ports."

"With the continuous commitment of the parties and the coalition, the swift and decisive support from this Council and the stewardship General Michael's mission (UNMHA), we have seen the first concrete step towards the implementation of those good words in Sweden in December."

Progress recently achieved in Hodeida will enable the UN to go ahead with talks on ending the war and to resume political negotiations.

Parties to the 4-year war in Yemen, after 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.

Late last April, the Yemeni Parliament Speaker reportedly threatened to replace Griffiths, like former envoy Ismael Wald al-Sheikh who was changed on Houthi request.

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


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