Palestinian Authority unhappy with UN envoy: Official

Nickolay Mladenov, UN Special Coordinator for Middle East Peace Process, addresses a Security Council meeting at the UN. (Shutterstock photo)
Updated 13 October 2018

Palestinian Authority unhappy with UN envoy: Official

  • Palestinian officials have said while they are unhappy with Mladenov, boycotting him will not serve a positive purpose
  • UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he fully supports the efforts of Mladenov

AMMAN: The Palestinian Authority (PA) has expressed concern about what it says are attempts by the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process to broker a deal between Israel and Hamas behind the PA’s back, a senior Palestinian official told Arab News.

But the PA does not consider Nickolay Mladenov persona non grata, the official said on condition of anonymity.

Earlier, Ahmed Majdalani, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) executive committee, said Palestinian officials had told UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that Mladenov was “no longer acceptable” to the PA because he had “gone beyond his role” in seeking agreements between Israel and rival Palestinian faction Hamas, which controls Gaza.

Annes Sweidan, head of the PLO’s international relations office in Ramallah, told Arab News that Mladenov “isn’t an honest broker, and seems to be working according to the agenda of Hamas, Israel and Qatar with the aim of carrying out the US peace plan by circumventing the Palestinian leadership.” 

Mladenov is buying into Israeli and US efforts to “ease the humanitarian situation rather than the end of the occupation,” Sweidan said.

Diana Buttu, a lawyer and former adviser to the Palestinian negotiating team, said the PA is paying no attention to the humanitarian situation. 

“That is the problem. The PA, instead of trying to alleviate the humanitarian disaster deliberately caused by Israel, is exacerbating it and castigating those who try to make life slightly more bearable under Israel’s siege,” she told Arab News.

“It’s the PA’s job to find a political solution, not the UN’s. The PA leadership treats Palestinians as though they’re political pawns.”

Palestinian officials have said while they are unhappy with Mladenov, boycotting him will not serve a positive purpose. 

“The message has been received and understood, so there’s no need to take it any further,” said the senior Palestinian official. 

Guterres said in a statement that he “fully supports the efforts of… Mladenov, who has been working tirelessly with all concerned parties… to change the dynamics in Gaza — to avoid escalation, to support intra-Palestinian reconciliation and to address all humanitarian issues.”

Guterres expressed hope that “relieving the humanitarian pressure in Gaza will reduce the tensions that risk a devastating armed conflict in Gaza and create space for the PA and Hamas to engage seriously with Egypt on reconciliation.” 

He added: “However, any humanitarian response to Gaza’s problems can only be temporary and limited in scope. What is needed is a political breakthrough that will… progress toward advancing a negotiated two-state solution based on relevant UN resolutions and previous agreements.” Meanwhile, Israeli forces killed two Palestinian protesters in Gaza on Friday.



Yemen president accuses UN envoy Griffiths of siding with Houthis

Updated 6 min 59 sec ago

Yemen president accuses UN envoy Griffiths of siding with Houthis

  • Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi sent a letter to the UN chief saying he would no longer work with Griffiths
  • Letter accuses Griffiths of treating the militia as a 'de-facto government'

SANAA: Yemen’s internationally recognized president sent a letter to the UN chief, criticizing his envoy to the country over allegedly siding with Iran-aligned Houthi militia, the president’s office said Friday.
In the letter addressed to Antonio Guterres, Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi accused Martin Griffiths, the UN special envoy to Yemen, of undermining chances for peace. Hadi also warns his government would stop dealing with the UN envoy.
“I can no longer tolerate the violations committed by the special envoy, which threaten prospects for a solution,” read the five-page letter, a copy of which was released to reporters Thursday.
It also accuses Griffiths of treating the militia as a "de-facto government and as an equal to the legitimate and elected government” of Yemen.
The conflict in Yemen began with the 2014 takeover of the capital, Sanaa, by the Houthi rebels. A coalition of Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, allied with Hadi’s government, has been fighting the Houthis since March 2015.
The fighting has killed an estimated 60,000 people and left millions suffering from lack of food and medical care.
Tensions arose between Griffiths and Hadi last week after the UN announced the long-delayed Houthi withdrawal from the flashpoint port city of Hodeidah.
Hadi’s government accused Griffiths at the time of turning a blind eye that the militants had allegedly only handed control of the port to “militia leaders” loyal to them. The “redeployment of Houthis” from Hodeidah was part of a UN-brokered deal concluded in December.
Hadi went on to say that Griffiths’s “poor understanding” of the Yemeni conflict makes him unfit for his post.
While briefing the UN Security Council on the situation in Yemen last week, Griffiths urged the warring sides to maintain the momentum of the Houthi withdrawal from Hodeidah — the country’s lifeline to foreign aid — and to work urgently on a political solution to the devastating conflict.
There were “signs of hope” but “also alarming signs” that could threaten progress, Griffiths said, a reference to continuing clashes in the southern Dhale province.
Later Friday, Houthi leader Mohamed Ali Al-Houthi tweeted that Hadi’s letter to the UN chief was “a miserable attempt to curtail peace.”