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Yemen Ambassador to UK: Replacing Ex-UN Envoy Upon Houthi Calls Was Wrong

Yemen Ambassador to UK: Replacing Ex-UN Envoy Upon Houthi Calls Was Wrong

Monday, 3 June, 2019 - 09:00
Yemeni Ambassador to UK Yassin Said Noman (Arabic Website)
London- Badr al-Qahtani
Yemeni Ambassador to UK Yassin Said Noman, in an exclusive interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, voiced worry for UN diplomatic processes in war-torn Yemen, Houthi attempts to reshape governance and ongoing violence.

Commenting on prospects for replacing UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths, Noman traced the trend back to the international body having ousted his predecessor, Ismael Ould Sheikh, based on Houthi complaints.

Noman, expressing his personal views, said that it isn’t Yemeni government grievances that are targeting Griffiths, and that it was the UN which “wronged its envoys.”

Ould Sheikh stepped down in January of 2018.

"Personally speaking, when Ismael Ould Sheikh was changed at the request of Houthis, the UN made a big mistake and started to practice such kinds of abuse against its envoys, not us,” Noman told an Asharq Al-Awsat correspondent, stressing that shuffling envoys was “unacceptable.”

“We need to correct blunders by the envoy,” the diplomat said, noting that the representative’s main mission does not entail kickstarting a new national discussion, even if they think it was so.

Elaborating on concerns upheld by the UN Special Envoy, Noman said they include “discovering issues distressing the public scene and finding means to deal with them.”

Snags pertaining to South Yemen, for example, should not be examined independently and without reference, but must be tackled in line with agreements reached by former national dialogue.

“I think it is important that the envoy must correct his work,” Noman said, suggesting that Griffiths must admit that Houthis were dishonest in their redeployment claims.

Casting doubts over Houthi behavior, Noman said: “First, I think it is not wrong to declare that the Houthis did not withdraw, they deceived him (Griffiths), he had a belief that they withdrew, but they do not seem to have done so.”

Noting that Griffiths’ main task of achieving peace in Yemen, Noman warned that Griffiths was at a disadvantage when trying to convince militias to rejoin or comply with negotiations.

“There are those who say that the UN envoy has become occupied with establishing relations with armed paramilitaries to get them to join talks,” he said whilst pointing out to Griffiths taking the internationally-recognized government’s participation for granted given its consistent position in support of the political peace process.

Addressing the West’s views on the catastrophe which Yemen has become, Noman said: “Western major powers have once taken a decision in the Security Council to support Yemen, the resolution was adopted 2216 to convict wrongdoers.”

Signed in 2015, the resolution aimed at peace. With some four years passing since, the failure to implement security and stability in Yemen has done Houthis a service by giving room for their Iran-tied and sectarian war agenda. They turned Yemen, according to Noman, to “a tragedy no one wants anything to do with.”

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