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Yemen: Griffiths Leaves Houthi Meeting Empty-Handed

Yemen: Griffiths Leaves Houthi Meeting Empty-Handed

Tuesday, 29 January, 2019 - 06:15
The motorcade of UN special envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths following his arrival at Sanaa International Airport on Monday. (AFP)
Aden - Ali Rabih
UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths left a meeting Monday with the leader of the Iran-backed Houthi militias in Sanaa empty-handed after their leader, Abdul-Malek al-Houthi, insisted on tackling issues that were not agreed on between warring parties in the Stockholm deal.

Among the issues he wanted to address was economic affairs and the reopening of the Sanaa International Airport, official Houthi sources said.

“During his meeting with Griffiths, al-Houthi wanted to focus on disputed files to avoid implementing the Stockholm deal,” the sources explained.

The UN envoy had arrived in Houthi-held Sanaa on Monday, his third visit in a month, to discuss the situation in an around the port city of Hodeidah.

His visit also aims to extend the timeline for the implementation of the UN-brokered deal in Yemen, particularly the file concerning the withdrawal of forces from the coastal city.

Under the Stockholm deal, the legitimate government and Houthi militias agreed to a ceasefire in Hodeidah, which went into effect on December 18. It also calls for the withdrawal of all forces from the city's three ports and holding a prisoner exchange.

In a tweet Monday, Griffiths’ office wrote: “We have seen the timelines for implementation extended, both in Hodeidah and the prisoner exchange agreement.”

“Such changes in timelines are expected. The initial timelines were rather ambitious. We are dealing with a complex situation on the ground.”

In an exclusive interview published on the same day, Griffiths told Asharq Al-Awsat there is a political will now more than ever to end the conflict in Yemen.

“We are all on the same page that the way to do this is through the negotiations’ table, and not the battlefield,” he said.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Griffiths plans to visit Hodeidah on Tuesday.

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