(Part 2) Special Envoy for Yemen and Swedish Foreign Minister on intra-Yemeni consultations


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UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths said he did not want to be “over optimistic” in the consultation between the warring parties rather he wants to be “over ambitious” adding that “success is not about the United Nations in these consultations, success is about the parties.”
Speaking to reporters in the Swedish town of Rimbo, Griffiths said the UN team would help the parties “understand the argument of the other side”, facilitate the talks, and provide the opportunity to succeed, however the discussion was for the parties themselves. He said there was a massive international effort to resolve the conflict in Yemen as the plight of the Yemeni people was getting more difficult every day. He said half the population was at risk of becoming vulnerable to famine if the consultation did not succeed.
In response to a question on whether the consultation could succeed without major countries backing the sides to the conflict, the Special Envoy a “combination of mediation and diplomacy” was needed to make progress, adding that diplomacy is “as important, and more important in particular moments, then the mediation between the parties.” He noted that the UN had received “consistent messages, particularly in recent weeks, of very positive attitude towards, and a positive view, about what we might like to produce in the road towards peace from all those important governments.”
Griffiths stressed that what was taking place in Rimbo was consultations, adding that negotiations had not yet begun. He said he looked forward for the consultations to revolve around building confidence between the parties, saving the economy, and reducing violence. He hoped to leave Sweden with tangible progress that people could see as a sign of faith and hope.
Asked about a recent escalation in violence on the ground in Yemen, the Special Envoy said stopping the war was essential, “but it is not a condition precedent to discussing how to resolve the conflict.” He added, “Of course we want de-escalation and we will be talking about it in very specific terms while we are here; but we will continue to talk together about the prospects for a peaceful solution, frankly irrespective of what happens on the battleground.”
Griffiths the UN would like to take Houdeidah “out of the battle” which he described as the “humanitarian pipeline to the rest of the country.” He gave “great credit to the coalition for the pause that they have instituted” adding this had created “a window of opportunity to make Houdeidah work for peace.”

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