Source in UN confirms to "Debriefer" "legitimate" gov.t did not make a formal request to change UN envoy

UN Chief refuses to change Griffiths, urges Yemeni parties to work with him

Amman (Debriefer)
2019-05-22 | Since 1 Year

 Guterres clings to Griffiths despite criticism of Yemeni "legitimacy" and claims to change him.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Yemeni parties to work with UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths in the first response to claims of his change as the Yemeni "legitimate"government has accused him of being no longer impartial and fair.

The Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) said in Tweet seen by "Debriefer" international news agency that UN spokesman said: "The Secretary-General urges the Yemeni parties to work with his Special Envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, to make further progress in the implementation of the Stockholm Convention,".

This is the first response by the UN Secretary-General to the demands of a number of officials in the Yemen's internationally recognized government to change the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, after accusing him of unfairness and bias towards the Houthi group (Ansar Allah).

In this context, a well-informed source in the United Nations told "Debriefer" news agency that the international organization has not received any official request from the internationally recognized government of Yemen to change the UN envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths.

The source of the "Debriefer" confirmed that the statements of officials of the Yemeni "legitimacy", aims to put pressure on the United Nations and its special envoy to Yemen in order to make gains in its favor.

"The Secretary-General urges the Yemeni parties to work with his Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, to make further progress in the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement," Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

"Recalling the initial positive steps taken in the implementation of the Hodeida Agreement, we are encouraged by the firm commitment reiterated by President Hadi and his Government to implement the Agreement," Guterres added.

"We remind all parties of their commitments to take further steps to achieve full implementation,"said Dujarric, "together with the Chair of the Redeployment Coordination Committee and the UN Mission to Support the Hodeida Agreement, so as not to lose the momentum."

Griffiths "is no longer impartial and fair in performing his mission,"the government spokesman, Rajeh Badi, told the Saudi Asharq Al-Awsat paper.

The UN envoy "no longer works on the implementation of the Security Council resolutions and international legitimacy," Badi added. "He has clearly deviated from the course of his mission in Yemen."

In comment on Griffiths' briefing, government foreign minister claimed that "western countries direct the especial envoy as they see on Yemeni issue."

"The UN envoy, Martin Griffiths, is no longer an honest broker, has exceeded his limits too much and is acting contrary to his duties as an envoy," tweeted Askar Zoail, a member of the delegation to the negotiations.

For his part, criticized the Prime Minister of the "legitimate" government head of the Yemeni government, Dr. Maeen Abdulmalik, the UN envoy and the mission to monitor the redeployment of forces in the province of Hodeidah in western Yemen.

According to Aden-based Yemeni "Saba" news agency the Prime Minister Ma'een Abdulmalik, the Prime minister of the "legitimate" Yemeni government, Dr. Ma'een Abdulmalik that Houthi play of handing over the ports to themselves before the envoy of the United Nations and the head of the UN Redeployment Committee is not acceptable act and clearly contradicts Stockholm agreement.

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 Ismail Ould Cheikh 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.

Yemen has been battered by a five-year armed conflict between the internationally recognised government backed by the Saudi-led coalition and the Iran-backed Houthis. The Houthis have been controlling the capital Sanaa and large parts of most densely populated northern, middle and western regions since they ousted the government in late 2014.

The conflict has caused what the United Nations calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

More than 24 million people, more than 80% of the country's population, are in need some form of humanitarian or protection assistance, including 8.4 million people who don't know where their next meal will come from, according to the UN.

And there are nearly 2 million children suffering from acute malnutrition, the UN said.

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