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.


Condemnation of attacks on Saudi Aramco oil plants continue

Updated 17 September 2019

Condemnation of attacks on Saudi Aramco oil plants continue

  • Bahraini King calls Saudi leadership

RIYADH: Condemnations of Saturday’s attack on Saudi Aramco oil installations continued on Monday, as the US pointed out Iran as the likely culprit behind the drone strikes that have dramatically escalated tensions in the region and triggered a record leap in global oil prices.

King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman both received calls from the King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa of Bahrain to condemn the attacks at Saudi oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais.

US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper called the crown prince, who is also the defense minister, to affirm his country's full support for the Kingdom.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said, “We will work with international partners to forge the widest and most effective response,” with a statement from his ministry saying the “UK remains committed to supporting the security of Saudi Arabia.”

India also slammed the attacks and reiterated the country’s “rejection of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations,” a foreign ministry spokesman said.

Official Spokesperson of the UN Secretary General Stephane Dujarric said in a statement that the Secretary General condemns Saturday's attacks on two Aramco oil plants.

The German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said, “Such an attack on civilian and vital infrastructure in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not justified”.

— with SPA