UN Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths warned against the fall of the country into regional tensions, stressing that consultations between the government and Houthi militias would resume “as soon as possible” according to the three references, namely the Gulf Initiative, national dialogue outcomes and United Nations Security Council Resolution 2216.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat via email, Griffiths expressed his desire for the swift implementation of the Stockholm Agreement, which he said was the collective responsibility of the concerned parties.
Asked whether he would voluntarily abandon his UN mission if he faced more obstacles, the envoy, who has been in this post since March 2018, asserted that he would maintain his job as long as he had the trust of the UN Secretary-General.
“I cannot lose optimism,” he said, noting that there were moments when he felt frustrated and disappointed. “But this is normal.”
Griffiths went on to say that there were many challenges to the peace process in the Yemeni complex and thorny conflict, but emphasized that any day that ends without approaching a political solution would mean more suffering for the Yemeni people.
Asked about the relation of the UN envoy’s office with the Arab Coalition member states and the Yemeni government, Griffiths said his main role was to broker an end to the war in Yemen and help the Yemeni people reach a comprehensive political agreement.
He added that he was in constant contact with the Yemeni government, with the Coalition countries, with Ansarallah group, as well as with regional and international stakeholders, who can support the UN mission.
The UN diplomat noted that he held “fruitful and very constructive meetings” in Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Muscat with the concerned parties and Coalition countries. He said that he expressed his intention to continue and advance the peace process on the basis of the outcome of the national dialogue, the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative and the relevant Security Council resolutions, and to resume consultations as soon as possible.
On the Stockholm Agreement that was struck between Yemen’s warring sides in December, he stressed that if implemented in good faith, the deal would bring about tangible benefits to thousands of Yemenis and build confidence between the parties.
The swap of prisoners and detainees, and the security of ports, are all considered to be the real work that the parties have agreed to undertake, according to Griffiths.
Asked about the purpose of his visits to Russia, Oman and other concerned countries and organizations, the senior diplomat stated: “The plane is the real home of the UN Special Envoy,” adding that he was much encouraged by the commitment of many international stakeholders to support his mission.