UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations’ new peace envoy for Yemen said Tuesday he will present a plan within two months to re-launch negotiations to end the war but warned that missile strikes on Saudi Arabia risked derailing the effort.
Submitting his first report to the Security Council, Griffiths said there are no guarantees for the success of negotiations in Yemen without confidence and goodwill and the conflict will not be resolved without agreement between leaders.
Addressing the Security Council, Martin Griffiths said a possible sharp escalation from the missile attacks on Saudi Arabia and intensified fighting could “in a stroke, take peace off the table.”
“My plan is to put to the council within the next two months a framework for negotiations,” Griffiths said in his first council report since taking over as special envoy in February.
He added that the legitimate government in Yemen has expressed its readiness to help achieve peace, stressing that peace will not be achieved without listening to and involving Yemenis in the south.
"We will work to reach an agreement acceptable to all Yemeni parties," said Griffiths, noting that all parties must cooperate to reopen Sanaa airport.
He also warned that there were unconfirmed reports that “movements of forces in Yemen are on the increase” and that the prospect of intensive military operations around Hodeidah port might be forthcoming.
The Saudi-led coalition battling Yemen’s Houthi rebels on Monday warned it was ready to inflict a “painful” response if new attacks are carried out against Saudi Arabia.
Riyadh said last week it had shot down two Iran-supplied drones in the south of the kingdom as well as interceptws ballistic missiles fired from rebel-held parts of Yemen, the latest in a series of similar incidents.
Griffiths cited the increased number of ballistic missile launches, intensified military operations in northwest Saada governorate, ongoing air strikes and movements of forces in the Hodeidah region as worrisome developments.
“Our concern is that any of these developments may, in a stroke, take peace off the table. I am convinced that there is a real danger of this,” said the envoy.
War-wracked Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations, with 75 percent of the population — 22 million people — in need of aid, seven million of whom are at risk of famine.
A severe cholera outbreak has also killed 2,000 people and infected one million, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.Griffiths also expressed concern over the rockets launched from Yemen towards Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, the Saudi-led Coalition and the Yemeni National Army on Tuesday downed two Iranian drones, as reported by Al-Arabiya.