UN Envoy Griffiths Ends 2-Day Talks in Yemen, Prepares for New Round

Published January 8th, 2019 - 10:09 GMT
Martin Griffiths (C), the UN special envoy for Yemen, descends from his plane upon his arrival at Sanaa international airport on January 5, 2019. (MOHAMMED HUWAIS / AFP)
Martin Griffiths (C), the UN special envoy for Yemen, descends from his plane upon his arrival at Sanaa international airport on January 5, 2019. (MOHAMMED HUWAIS / AFP)

UN special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths departed Sanaa on Monday after two days of talks with legitimate government officials and members of the Iran-backed Houthi militias over the implementation of the Sweden ceasefire deal.

He left the Yemeni capital for Riyadh without making statement, reflecting UN disappointment with Houthi stalling in implementing the agreement that was reached in December.

An informed source revealed that Griffiths is set to meet with President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi to discuss the Stockholm deal and a possible new round of peace consultations.

Prior to his departure, the envoy had held talks in Sanaa with Houthi leader Abdulmalek al-Houthi. Pro-Houthi media claimed that the militia leader had complained of obstacles and violations by the legitimate forces of the Sweden deal.

Houthi stressed to Griffiths the need to quickly implement the agreement and begin practical measures related to the ceasefire in the Taiz province, reported the militias’ version of the Saba news agency.

In addition, the Houthis claimed that talks with the UN official discussed preparations for the new round of consultations.

The Sweden deal calls for the Houthis to withdraw from Hodeidah and its three ports and returning them under the control of legitimate powers that were there prior to the militias’ 2014 coup.

A UN monitoring team, headed by retired Dutch general Patrick Cammaert, had arrived in Yemen in December to oversee the implementation of the ceasefire.

The legitimacy has accused the militias of failing to implement the deal and of deceiving the UN team by withdrawing their members, but later returning them under the guise of security forces. The Houthis have also continued to impede the delivery of relief aid in the country.

Informed sources in Sanaa said that Griffiths had rejected during talks with the Houthis their unilateral actions and the ploy in Hodeidah. He demanded that they adhere to the plan drafted by Cammaert’s team.

Meanwhile, Kuwaiti official sources predicted that Kuwait could host the next round of consultations, however, Yemeni government sources ruled out the possibility of such talks if the Houthis continued to violate the Stockholm truce.

Observers believe that the militias were simply stalling and have no intention to withdraw from Hodeidah, as demonstrated in their digging of trenches in the city.

Local sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Houthi leaders have grown “paranoid” and they are therefore ordering the fortification of their positions in anticipation of a government offensive, which could be launched after it “loses its patience” with the militia stalling tactics.

The Saudi-led Arab coalition had on Monday released photographs of the trenches, accusing the Houthis of not being serious about respecting the truce.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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