UN envoy hails ‘tireless’ Saudi efforts on southern Yemen as STC delegation heads to Jeddah

The United Nations envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths praised Saudi Arabia’s efforts in restoring stability in south Yemen. (File/Reuters)
Updated 26 August 2019

UN envoy hails ‘tireless’ Saudi efforts on southern Yemen as STC delegation heads to Jeddah

  • Griffiths made the comments following ‘positive meeting’ with Saudi official
  • The UN envoy said they agreed on the need for continuous dialogue

JEDDAH: The United Nations envoy to Yemen praised the “tireless role” played by Saudi Arabia in restoring stability to the country’s south.
Griffiths made the comments on Tuesday after a “positive and engaging meeting” with the Kingdom’s Deputy Minister of Defense Khalid bin Salman.

Meanwhile, the president of Yemen's Southern Transitional Council (STC) headed with a delegation to Jeddah On Tuesday after accepting the Kingdom's invitation to a summit to calm tensions Aden between separatists and government forces.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE at the weekend oversaw the withdrawal of southern separatists from positions they had seized from the Yemeni government in the temporary capital Aden.
The Arab coalition, which includes the two Gulf countries, ordered that the fighters stand down and they revert to helping the government fight the Iran-backed Houthi militants, which controls the north.
Griffiths praised the Kingdom’s “tireless role under Khalid bin Salman’s leadership to restore order and stability in south Yemen.” 
“We agreed on the need for continuous dialogue,” he added in a tweet.
Briefing a UN Security Council meeting later on Tuesday, Griffiths also reiterated his praise of the Kingdom's efforts in Yemen and its hosting of the dialogue process in Jeddah, "which must take place as soon as possible."
Yemen’s latest crisis erupted when southern separatist forces seized the presidential palace and army camps in Aden.
Dozens of people, including civilians, were killed in violent clashes.


Saudi Arabia and the UAE urged Yemenis to observe a cease-fire in Aden and resolve their differences through dialogue.
The separatists, who want an independent south Yemen, had agreed to support the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to defeat the Houthis from the north who sparked the conflict in 2014 when they seized Sanaa.
But tensions between the separatists and Hadi’s forces have spilled over on a number of occasions in Aden.
Griffiths said he was alarmed by the violence in Aden and Abyan. "I condemn the unacceptable efforts by the Southern Transitional Council to take control of state institutions," he added.
He said the incidents in Aden raise unanswered questions about Yemen's future and the port city must be under the exclusive control of Yemeni state institutions.
Griffiths also told the Security Council via a video link that he "condemned the ongoing Houthi attacks on civilian facilities in Saudi Arabia."
In recent days, the Iran-backed militia launched 10 drones towards a Saudi Aramco gas plant, which was condemned by the international community and the Arab coalition said that the Houthis are threatening global energy supplies.
Griffiths said: "the division of Yemen has become a real threat and we must redouble our efforts. Yemen must return to normal to prevent the disruption of the social fabric."
He also said that there have been discussions about the exchange of Yemeni prisoners, but negotiations are slow and prolong their suffering.
Meanwhile, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Ursula Mueller said infrastructure and water networks were heavily damaged in the Aden clashes.
She said the World Food Programme and the Houthis signed an agreement to protect food aid but humanitarian agencies are suffering enormous restrictions in the north imposed by the militants.
"More than 100 humanitarian projects await Houthi approval and the UN faces difficulties in northern Yemen due to restrictions and harassment," she added.
"Yemen remains the biggest challenge for humanitarian agencies," Mueller told the Security Council.

 


British ambassador to Saudi Arabia condemns Houthi drone attack targeting the Kingdom

Updated 2 min 15 sec ago

British ambassador to Saudi Arabia condemns Houthi drone attack targeting the Kingdom

LONDON: Britain’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia condemned the Houthis for launching drones toward the Saudi city of Najran.
The Arab coalition intercepted the drones launched across the border from Yemen on Wednesday.
Neil Crompton denounced the attack that aimed for “civilian targets,” and said the Houthis “must cease such attacks.”
“If the Houthis want to show they are serious about peace, they must cease such attacks and agree to Griffiths’ proposals,” the ambassador said Thursday, referring to a roadmap set out by the UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths.
On Wednesday, Arab coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said the Houthi militia continued to violate international humanitarian law by launching drones and deliberately targeting civilians and residential areas, threatening the lives of hundreds of civilians.
He also said the Houthis have violated a cease-fire that was announced last month 4,455 times so far.
Meanwhile, Yemen’s Information Minister Moammar Al-Eryani warned against Houthi recruitment of African refugees and illegal immigrants to fight against the legitimate government in the country.
He said that African refugees and illegal immigrants were being tortured and forced to fight in Houthi ranks, smuggle drugs and carry out espionage tasks.