Warring sides mark “surprising” progress to reach functional agreements on troop withdrawal plans in the war-torn country, UN envoy says.
Rabat – UN envoy Martin Griffiths said on Tuesday, July 23, that all warring fronts in Yemen, as well as the international community, support a United Nations peace deal launched in Sweden in 2018, and are making progress towards achieving it.
“I believe that this war in Yemen is eminently resolvable,” Griffiths told reporters in Geneva.
“Both parties continue to insist that they want a political solution and the military solution is not available, they remain committed to the Stockholm agreement in all its different aspects.”
Yemen has been facing a devastating power struggle between the Saudi-Emirati backed government and Iran-aligned Houthi fighters since late 2014.
The conflict has further escalated since 2015 when the Houthis advanced on the deposed government’s temporary base in the city of Aden, causing Saudi Arabia and its allies to start a military campaign against the rebel group.
While the Stockholm agreement was taking some time to be implemented, the warring sides saw an opportunity to begin negotiations on a political solution. The international community supported their effort to abandon a military approach to the conflict.
Last week, a meeting between both parties brought a surprise breakthrough, with an agreement on the technical aspects of a ceasefire deal in the port of Hodeidah. The meeting took place on the neutral ground of a UN ship in the Red Sea.
Griffiths said those talks marked more progress than expected, reaching operational agreements on troop withdrawal plans under the Stockholm deal. The deal envisions a United Nations backed team taking over management of the port as the two armies withdraw.
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Last month, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) began curtailing its military presence, a move viewed as a deliberate push towards a commitment to peace.
Meanwhile, a senior Emirati official, Anwar Gargash, said the UAE and “the rest of the coalition are not leaving Yemen,” in an opinion piece published on Monday, July 22.
After four years of fighting, the Houthis still dominate much of the country, including its capital, Sanaa.
Since 2015, thousands of people, many of them children, have been killed in the conflict.
The fighting has triggered what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, leaving 3.3 million people displaced and 24.1 million, more than two-thirds of the population, in urgent need of aid.