UN Special Envoy Griffiths Notes Progress In Yemeni Peace Process

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 12th January, 2019) UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths in an interview with Sputnik noted progress in the settlement of the military conflict between the country's government and the rebel Houthi movement.

"We had people on the ground on the 22nd of December, this was eight days after the Stockholm agreement. The team was there by then and they have been there ever since. So I think we're making progress and the Security Council very much in consensus came to the same conclusion ... We're making progress let's stick with it," Griffiths said.

The UN envoy noted it was difficult to establish a ceasefire across the whole Al Hudaydah area, which saw violent clashes for years, under the truce agreement recently reached by the Yemeni warring parties in Sweden, since this deal was the first agreement of such kind concluded by the parties in two years.

Griffiths noted that the members of the Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC), including both conflicting sides, which is in charge of overseeing the truce implementation, were working in Al Hudaydah.

"I hope we will get operational plan for the deployment in the next day or two ... The parties are voluntarily committed to this, and they keep saying that they will do that, so we hope that it will work," Griffiths pointed out.

When asked if the so-called Astana format, which is used for the Syrian crisis settlement, could be used for the resolution of the Yemeni conflict, Griffiths said he did not think the Yemeni peace process needed this option.

"We have a perfectly straightforward arrangement which the UN and myself, in this case, mediate between the parties, and there will be more rounds of negotiations in the coming months. Diplomats are present as they were in Sweden, and as they happen in all rounds of previous negotiations before my time. And so it strikes me that we don't have a problem of format, what we have is a challenge of will to make agreements happen," the diplomat explained.

In December, the Yemeni warring parties met for the UN-sponsored talks in Stockholm. Apart from reaching the deal on the ceasefire in Al Hudaydah, they agreed to implement various humanitarian measures, including the exchange of prisoners of war and setting up humanitarian corridors.

The Yemeni conflict has been raging since 2015. The government has been supported by an international Saudi-led coalition in the war. The conflict has brought the country on a brink of humanitarian catastrophe. Moreover, UN experts suggested that all the involved parties might have been complicit in war crimes.