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Griffiths’ Mission Faces New Houthi Obstacles, Sources

Griffiths’ Mission Faces New Houthi Obstacles, Sources

Wednesday, 23 January, 2019 - 07:30
Martin Griffiths flew to Yemen for talks with the Houthis | Reuters
Aden, Jeddah- Ali Rabih and Saeed al-Abyad
The United Nations special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, has already confronted new Houthi impediments, sources with knowledge of the matter told Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday.

“Houthis informed Griffiths they objected the role of retired Dutch Maj. Gen. Patrick Cammaert,” the sources said, adding that leaders from the militia group linked implementing the Sweden agreement with the economic file and with paying the salaries of civil servants operating in areas under their control.

Griffiths has arrived Monday in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, in a new effort to convince Houthi leadership to implement the Sweden ceasefire agreement and withdraw from the city of Hodeidah and its ports.

Last month, Yemen’s warring parties met in Sweden and agreed on a ceasefire in Hodeidah and on a prisoner exchange deal.

Houthis failed to comply with the Sweden deal and to withdraw from the ports of Hodeidah, Salif, and Ras Issa, as well as from the city.

They also expressed objection to the role of Cammaert, accusing him of being biased toward the legitimate government, and requested his removal.

Cammaert is heading a UN mission charged with monitoring the ceasefire and with ensuring other commitments agreed at peace talks in Sweden last month are honored.

Despite Griffiths’ presence during the last two days in Sanaa, Houthi-controlled media outlets ignored mentioning any official meeting held between the UN envoy and the insurgency, only shedding light on two separate meetings held by his deputy, Maeen Sharim with the group’s leadership.

Meanwhile, the Yemeni legitimate government submitted a formal complaint to the United Nations over Houthis’ dealing with the prisoner exchange file.

It said the insurgency failed to abide by a common list of names, which the International Committee of the Red Cross had requested last week in Amman during a meeting between representatives of the Yemeni government and Houthis on the implementation of a prisoner exchange agreement.

ICRC said it was ready to offer the two sides of Yemen's conflict technical support in facilitating prisoner exchanges, upon agreement on final lists of prisoners.

Officials from the legitimate government expected the next ten days to be decisive concerning the exchange file, hoping to reach final lists of prisoners and to start implementation of the Sweden agreement.

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