UN envoy arrives in Riyadh for talks with Yemeni government officials and political parties

Martin Griffiths, the UN special envoy for Yemen, arrived in Riyadh for talks with the Government of Yemen & political parties. (File/AFP)
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Updated 17 December 2019

UN envoy arrives in Riyadh for talks with Yemeni government officials and political parties

  • Griffiths’ visit comes exactly one year after the Stockholm Agreement was implemented
  • UN describes results achieved as ‘modest’

RIYADH: UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths arrived in Riyadh on Tuesday to hold talks with officials from the internationally recognized government in Yemen and party representatives.
Griffiths’ visit comes exactly one year after the Stockholm Agreement was implemented.
The deal was passed in Sweden on Dec. 13 2018 and includes an agreement on the city of Hodeidah and the ports of Hodeida, Salif and Ras Issa, an executive mechanism on activating prisoner exchange and a statement of understanding on Taiz.
Yemen’s Prime Minister, Moeen Abdul Malik, called on the international community to put pressure on the Iran-backed Houthi militia to implement the Stockholm Agreement, according to the Twitter account of the Yemeni Cabinet Presidency.
The United Nations described the results achieved by the Stockholm Agreement signed between the legitimate Yemeni government and the Houthi militia as “modest,” but considered it “a step that brings the two sides closer to achieving a lasting peace for all Yemenis.”
On Monday, Griffiths discussed with the Houthi militia the next steps in the peace process, including the implementation of the detainees exchange agreement, according to the UN envoy’s Twitter account.
“In a meeting with Abdulmalik Al-Houthi yesterday, Griffiths discussed with Ansar Allah next steps in the advancement of the peace process, including implementation of prisoners agreement,” the tweet said.
Griffith’s office published a report on the anniversary of the Stockholm Agreement, saying that the process of implementation may be “slow,” and “there will be setbacks, but we will continue to care and promote every small achievement on the road to supporting Yemenis in their pursuit of peace and stability.”
The report said that the Stockholm Agreement is the first between the parties to the Yemeni conflict, adding that the Stockholm consultations remain “a major progress on the road to building confidence between the two parties and is the basis for any successful peace building effort.”
The report said that the parties committed themselves to an immediate cease-fire in the city of Hodeidah, the ports of Hodeidah, Salif, and Ras Issa.
The agreement strengthened the UN presence in Hodeidah which “resulted in a significant decrease in the overall level of violence and the number of security incidents on the city’s front lines.”
The UN agreement spared Hodeidah a “catastrophic attack on the city and ports,” and the cease-fire, which entered into force on Dec. 18, 2018, provided a safer environment for civilians.


Oil coup for Saudi Arabia as output cuts are extended

Updated 06 June 2020

Oil coup for Saudi Arabia as output cuts are extended

  • ‘Compliance is vital,’ Prince Abdul Aziz says

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia pulled off a coup in the world of oil diplomacy on Saturday with an agreement to extend the historic output cuts credited with pulling energy markets out of chaos.

At a virtual meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC producersled by Russia, 23 exporters agreed to roll over the record-breaking cuts until the end of July, with a monthly option to renew the agreement after that.

The deal has strict provisions against producers who fail to comply. Some countries, notably Iraq and Nigeria, have been accused of ignoring the agreed caps on crude production.

“Effective compliance is vital if we are to secure the hard-won stability in global oil markets and restore confidence in the unity and effectiveness of the OPEC+ group,” said Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, the Saudi Energy Minister. “This stability and positive market sentiment will bring its own rewards.”


OPEC+ agreed unanimously that countries that have fallen short of full compliance since May 1 will make up that shortfall over the summer months and will adhere to production limits in the future.

Compliance will be assessed at monthly ministerial monitoring meetings until the end of the year. “We must be vigilant. Each of the 23 countries represented here must be on guard for any signs of backsliding from their commitments,” Prince Abdul Aziz said.


“All OPEC+ partners must deliver on their pledges for the collective pledges to be sustained. Each country has to adhere to its commitment to restrain production along the agreed guidelines.”

The minister referred to the recent “low point” when American crude briefly traded below zero, but said the OPEC+ deal, bolstered by extra voluntary cuts from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait, had helped the global market over the worst.


Brent crude, the global benchmark, has more than doubled in price since the cuts took effect. “Demand is returning as big oil-consuming economies emerge from pandemic lockdown,” Prince Abdul Aziz said. “Through our commitment to a proactive policy, within a cohesive and collective framework, we are restoring confidence and stability to global oil markets. Today, we have grounds to be cautiously optimistic about the future.”

Energy experts welcomed the deal, but echoed the minister’s caution. “This is an important success for OPEC+. It shows ability to deliver, willingness to address discipline, and coherence in the approach,” saidChristof Ruehl of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University.

“The problem is that the more OPEC+ succeeds, the easier it becomes for private producers to enjoy the fruits of its labor.”