UN Yemen envoy holds fresh talks in Riyadh

By Nabil Abdullah al-Tamimi in Aden


UN special envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths meets Sunday (September 13th) with Yemeni government officials in Riyadh. [Photo courtesy of the Office of the Special Envoy for Yemen Twitter account]

UN special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths kicked off a new round of talks in Riyadh with Yemeni government officials to discuss a draft joint declaration to restore the political process in Yemen.

Griffiths met Sunday (September 13th) with Yemen's parliament speaker Sultan al-Burkani and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed al-Hadhrami to discuss ways to end the crisis, reach a ceasefire and achieve peace.

He welcomed progress towards the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement and discussed ways to move towards a comprehensive political solution.

Griffiths said the UN was keen to resolve the issue of the Safer floating storage and offloading (FSO) terminal in order to avoid an environmental disaster in the Red Sea that would affect Yemen and the region.

Al-Burkani also stressed the need to find a solution for the Safer issue as soon as possible, and accused the Houthis (Ansarallah) of using the Safer "as a means for extorting the world".

"This should not be accepted," he said.

'Attack on Marib must cease'

Discussions also focused on the dire humanitarian consequences of the military escalation in and around Marib, which continues to host more than three million internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Griffiths stressed that the attack on Marib must immediately cease.

Al-Burkani and al-Hadhrami condemned the Houthis' escalation in Marib and al-Jawf, and their ballistic missile and drone attacks in these provinces.

They also accused the Houthis of undermining the work of the UN mission in al-Hodeidah by imposing restrictions on its movements that mean it is unable to carry out its mandate as set out in the Stockholm Agreement.

"The government cannot possibly continue in honouring its obligations under that agreement when Houthis continue to undermine the UN mission work and evade their obligations under the agreement," al-Burkani said.

Yemen's Deputy Minister of Human Rights Nabil Abdul Hafeez told Al-Mashareq the government supports peace efforts that abide by the Gulf Initiative, the output of Yemen's National Dialogue and UN Security Council Resolution 2216.

He accused the Houthis of exploiting agreements for their own interests, saying they have been taking advantage of the al-Hodeidah ceasefire agreement to redeploy their fighters to Marib, al-Jawf and al-Bayda provinces.

"They also have exploited al-Hodeidah agreement to ensure the port remains under their control, as it facilitates the entry of Iranian weapons," he said.

"We have seen the result of this already, in the ballistic missile and drone attacks on civilians in other Yemeni cities and neighbouring countries," he said.

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