Can The New UN Hans Grundberg Bring Peace to Yemen?

Published August 8th, 2021 - 09:01 GMT
Can Grundberg solve the conflict in Yemen?
Hans Grundberg: Yemen's new envoy (twitter.com)

ALBAWABA - Yemen has a new UN Envoy. The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has just appointed the Swedish diplomat Mr Hans Grundberg to seek solve the beleaguered seven-year-old Yemen conflict.

He takes over from Martin Griffiths, a Briton, who has been seeking to solve the Yemen conflict since 2018 but to no avail. Although he tried hard making frequent trips to Yemen, Riyadh and different Arab capitals like Kuwait including Tehran, he failed to achieve headway because of the Yemen intractable conflict and its different sides.

Many are positive about the appointment of Grundberg which has been approved by the 15-member UN Security Council and is being praised by the Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan. The Swedish diplomat has a great deal of experience in conflict-resolution in the Middle East and in Yemen itself.

He was the EU Ambassador to Yemen since 2019 and helped to defuse fighting in port of Hodeideh in late 2018 when he brought the warring sides together and brokered the Stockholm Agreement.

Yemen is desperate for peace. United Nations figures put the number of Yemeni deaths at 233,00 including 131,000 from starvation, lack of health services and infrastructure. “Hostilities have directly caused tens of thousands of civilian casualties; 3,153 child deaths and 5,660 children were verified in the first five years of the conflict, and 1,500 civilian casualties were reported in the first nine months of 2020,” as stated by the OCHA on its website.

Guterres  warns Yemen is in “imminent danger of the worst famine the world has seen for decades” and Henrietta Fore, head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) , said the country was facing “an imminent catastrophe”.

It is these issues Grundberg will have to address and impress on the warring parties inside Yemen like the Houthis, the Southern Transitional Council, the Yemeni government and their backers like Iran, Saudi Arabia and UAE.

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said Grunderberg is an ‘excellent” diplomat and her country backed the UN diplomatic efforts to end the suffering of the Yemeni people as quoted in Arab News.


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