Diplomacy

UN envoy to Yemen concludes 'positive' talks

By Nabil Abdullah al-Tamimi in Aden

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UN special envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths gives a press conference at Sanaa's international airport prior to his departure on July 4th, accompanied by Faisal Amin Abu-Rass, the under-secretary of the Houthis' foreign ministry. [Mohammed Huwais/AFP]

Following Wednesday (July 4th) talks in Sanaa on the status of the Red Sea port of al-Hodeidah, UN special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths said there were "positive indications" the Houthis (Ansarallah) would opt for peace.

Griffiths said he met with the leaders and representatives of the Iran-backed Houthis, including Abdel Malek al-Houthi, and the General People’s Congress.

"I am greatly reassured by the messages I have received, which have been positive and constructive," he said. "All parties have not only underscored their strong desire for peace, but have also engaged with me on concrete ideas for achieving peace."

Griffiths said he would brief the UN Security Council on the outcomes of his discussions in Sanaa and Aden on Thursday, and that his talks would continue.

The UN envoy said he had a "very positive" meeting with President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi last week, and expected to meet with him again soon.

Hadi has "underscored his desire for rapid progress towards a peaceful settlement", Griffiths said.

"I look forward to working with all the parties urgently to find a solution first that will not only restore security and stability in al-Hodeidah, but also create positive conditions for a rapid and urgent restart of political negotiations," he said.

The UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Yemen said Wednesday that more than 121,000 people have been displaced from al-Hodeidah province since June 1st as a result of the ongoing fighting.

Meanwhile, Saudi authorities said Tuesday that the Houthis fired a rocket at the kingdom's southern Jizan province, leaving a five-year-old child wounded.

The child was taken to a local hospital after the Katyusha rocket struck, civil defence officials said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

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