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Griffiths: No Changes in Yemen Peace talks references

Written by Staff

Al Mukalla: Future UN-brokered peace talks between warring factions in Yemen to end three years of raging conflict have to be built on the GCC Initiative, the outcomes of National Dialogue Conference and UN Security Council resolution 2216, the new UN envoy to Yemen said.

Announcing the beginning of a tough mission to broker a deal in Yemen, Martin Griffiths said he thinks military operations would not put an end to the Yemeni crisis and he would engage with Yemeni players to convince them to resume talks. “I promise the Yemeni people that I will work hard to facilitate an inclusive political process based on the GCC Initiative and its Implementation Mechanism, the National Dialogue Conference outcomes, and all relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolution 2216 [2015],” he said. The three references of peace talks recognise Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi as a legitimate president of Yemen and the UN resolution in particular condemns Al Houthis’ takeover of Sana’a and demands they exit cities and hand over arms to the government.

The British diplomat was appointed as the new UN envoy to Yemen in February after his predecessor Esmail Ould Shaikh Ahmad had largely failed to break the stalemate in the political process in Yemen. In his last briefing to the United Nations Security Council, Ahmad said an agreed peace deal that meant an end to the war in Yemen had been scuppered when Iran-backed Al Houthis refused to endorse it at the last minute, citing some “unfair terms” demanding they pull out of main cities and disarm.

Griffiths said: “It is clear that there is no military solution to be found in Yemen … A credible political process will require all sides to be flexible, make difficult compromises, and prioritise the national interest for the sake of the Yemeni people.”

The new envoy’s remark about peace references is likely to provoke Al Houthis, who have long refused to comply with the UN resolution and continue to see Hadi as a foe, rather than as president.

The Yemeni government hailed the new envoy’s emphasis on the three references, saying it would positively deal with his diplomatic efforts and proposals. “The Yemeni government welcomes the assumption of the role of the new envoy and reaffirms its support for his mission, as it did with his predecessor, for the restoration of the state and peace in Yemen,” the country’s Foreign Minister Abdul Malek Al Mekhlafi said on his official twitter feed.

Meanwhile, a delegation from the European Union landed in Al Houthi-held capital Sana’a on Tuesday to convince Al Houthis to resume peace talks. Antonio Calvo-Puerta, the head of the delegation, said the aim of the visit was to revive peace efforts between warring factions in Yemen. “It is my pleasure to be back again in Sana’a as part of our efforts to reach out to all Yemeni parties to encourage them to engage in talks to find a durable political settlement,” Calvo-Puerta said. “The EU strongly supports the UN-led efforts to reach a durable political settlement to the crisis in Yemen and calls on all parties to engage in good faith with the efforts of the new UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths.”

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