British Ambassador to Asharq Al-Awsat: Optimism over 'Fragile Progress' For Peace Opportunities in Yemen
British Ambassador to Yemen Michael Aron said on Thursday that the political operation in Yemen has moved forward in the past few days, but stressed that such progress was still “fragile” as warring parties need to take more positive steps towards peace in the country.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Aron said his country was optimistic about a positive “progress” in Yemen’s peace efforts following “the worst incidents,” referring to the drone attacks at two major facilities run by Saudi Aramco last month.
Aron said he noticed that the level of military escalation between the warring sides had decreased.
However, he described such progress as “fragile,” stressing the need to encourage all parties to take positive steps towards peace.
The Ambassador also welcomed the visit of United Nations Special Envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, to Sanaa last Tuesday, as part of his efforts to revive the stalled Stockholm deal that was reached between the legitimate government and Houthi rebels in December 2018.
“We feel the optimism,” he said, adding that the Houthi step to end launching attacks at Saudi Arabia is very important.
“We need to enhance such steps. Houthis are relatively concerned, as we heard. They want to know the Saudi reaction,” to what happened last month, Aron said, adding that meetings held with the rebel group in Sanaa and Muscat aim to encourage them to take further steps towards peace and the termination of war.
Aron said that the Houthi leaderships had welcomed the comments delivered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who called for diplomatic solutions to the war in Yemen.
“The statements delivered by the Crown Prince will help the peace process move forward,” he said.
The Ambassador stressed the “very positive Saudi role” in Yemen, particularly following a meeting between Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman and Griffiths in Jeddah last week.
Asked about the “Jeddah talks” held between the Yemeni legitimate government and the Southern Transitional Council in Saudi Arabia, the Ambassador said he spoke with some representatives who attended the talks and he believes “the situation on the ground is better than the spread gossips.”
Aron said he expects the two sides to reach an agreement in the coming weeks.
STC forces took government bases in Yemen last August after accusing the Islah party allied to Hadi of being complicit in a Houthi missile attack on southern forces earlier this month, a charge the party denies.