Yemen Truce Looks Critical yet In Place, Says Martin Griffiths

January 31, 2019

Yemen’s shaky ceasefire is still in place and Saudi Arabia remains resolute on reaching a mediated conclusion to the four-year-old civil war. UN’s special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths made this statement lately.

However, Martin accepted that the state of the truce looked grim from outside; however, he stated that the important metric for the UN was the dearth of aggressive military operations to seize territory and bring an end to the Saudi airstrikes in the area.

Griffiths went to Yemen’s capital, Sana’a and also the Red Sea port of Hodeidah in order to talk about the obstruction to the agreement reached during the UN-led talks in Stockholm last December.

Yemen has been riveted by civil war for four years between the Iranian backed Houthi militia and the Saudi backed and recognized Yemen government of Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi since 2015. Griffiths stated that the crucial next steps would be gaining access to grain in Hodeidah’s mills, and an UN-sponsored meeting between the conflicting parties to initiate the process of re-stationing Houthi troops.

Griffiths even stated that the UN world food programme needs access to the mills which have hoarded enough grains and it can feed nearly 4 million Yemenis for a month. On the other hand, the Houthi forces claimed that they were attacked by the government forces while they tried to demine the route heading to the mills.

The Houthi forces are unwilling to pull out from the city and port, and grant a new security force to take over. The nature of the security force although contended and was not specified clearly out in the Stockholm pact.

However, Griffiths stated that he has some plans for the UN-led redeployment co-ordination committee (RCC), assembling together the opposing military leaders, to reopen its meetings within the next few days. Griffiths refused to clarify the agenda of the next important meeting.

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