Specter of instability still looming large in Yemen – UN Envoy

NEW YORK, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General for Yemen Martin Griffiths recalled on Thursday his grim warnings to the UN Security Council in recent months regarding the perils facing Yemen. Briefing the Council via video teleconference from Riyadh, he said those perils include “the prospects of instability in the south and frightening risks that the country will be drawn into a regional conflict.” While at times he had lost hope, today he told the Council that there are reasons for optimism for the people of Yemen “even in the middle of a misery — which sometimes must seem endless.” Outlining those current signs of hope – which he characterized as fragile and requiring diligent care and attention, he cited stronger willingness by the parties and noted that the last few days have seen progress in facilitating the movement of much needed oil supplies.

“In addition, there has been no large scale fighting in the volatile south of the country and a tenuous calm continues to hold in Aden.

“This can be taken as a testimony to the restraint shown by those on the ground,” Griffiths said.

Many partners had hoped that an agreement would be announced today, as talks continue to progress in Jeddah under the leadership of Saudi Arabia.

“Indeed, there are encouraging signs that an agreement aimed at resolving issues between the Government and the Southern Transitional Council might be within reach,” he pointed out.

Underlining the need for the Government to return to Aden and for State institutions to become fully functional again.

Recalling that Lt-Gen. Abhijit Guha just assumed his duties as Head of the United Nations Mission to Support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA) and Chair of the Redeployment Coordination Committee, the UN envoy said confidence building is the key to the full implementation of that accord.

The establishment of a Joint Operations Centre along with the two parties has resulted in a tangible reduction of ceasefire violations and the redeployment of forces will continue to be a primary focus.

Welcoming the release of 290 detainees by Houthis, Griffiths invited the parties to meet with the UN and its partners, including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), at the earliest opportunity to resume discussions on further releases as laid out in the December 2018 Stockholm Agreement.

He voiced gratitude to the humanitarian actors currently working to deliver assistance to people in need in Durhaimi and elsewhere, welcoming as “encouraging” the efforts by both parties to open humanitarian corridors.

“Today we have some positive indications,” he said, while cautioning, “Let’s be under no illusion about the challenges and the difficulties ahead.”

Source: Kuwait News Agency