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British Ambassador to Asharq Al-Awsat: Comprehensive Yemeni Solution Needed to End War

British Ambassador to Asharq Al-Awsat: Comprehensive Yemeni Solution Needed to End War

Monday, 27 January, 2020 - 10:30
A Houthi fighter in Sanaa. (Reuters file photo)
Riyadh - Abdulhadi Habtor
Britain stated that the Stockholm agreement reached between the legitimate Yemeni government and Iran-backed Houthi militias was important and reached significant results within a year, however, new changes on the ground require a comprehensive political agreement.

British Ambassador to Yemen, Michael Aron told Asharq Al-Awsat that such an agreement must cover the whole of Yemen, not just one region alone, to ensure a complete end to the war on all fronts.

Commenting on the government’s statement that the Stockholm deal has become a problem, not a solution, he explained that it meant that it wanted to see more progress on the ground. He cited however, the changes that have taken place since its signing in December 2018, such as the withdrawal of forces from the United Arab Emirates and the significant shift in Saudi Arabia’s stance in ending the war.

He also cited the fighting that had taken place in southern Yemen and the signing of the Riyadh agreement shortly after.

The Stockholm agreement was important a year ago and relative progress was made in the ceasefire in Hodeidah, continued Aron. Now, with the change in stances, new efforts are needed by all parties to reach a comprehensive political deal.

The ambassadors of the United States, Britain, France and Russia had expressed recently their grave concern over the latest escalation in the Yemen conflict that threatened to undermine de-escalation efforts.

Aron elaborated by noting the calm that had prevailed on numerous fronts. It was a short period of calm, but it was important whereby there were no reports of rockets attacks or drones. This was undermined by the fighting in Nihm and the rocket attack in Marib, which left over a hundred people dead.

This means that the war is not over, remarked the ambassador, stressing the need for greater efforts from all parties to restore calm.

The Yemeni people, international community, Saudi Arabia, Arab coalition and all parties want peace, even the legitimate government, he continued, saying that restraint from all sides was necessary.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that trading blame over who was responsible for the latest escalation will not bring the country any closer to resolving its problem. He instead stressed the need for leadership from all parties.

Moreover, Aron said he looked forward to role Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman can play in this regard, saying they will be helpful.

He revealed that he had learned that Houthi leader Abdulmalek al-Houthi was keen on peace.

There can be no military solution to this problem, the envoy declared, throwing his support behind the efforts of United Nations special envoy Martin Griffiths in reaching a ceasefire and restoring calm.

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