Griffiths to Break Yemen Talks Deadlock by Visiting Russia, Middle East
The four-week deadlock in UN-sponsored peace talks on Yemen appears to be easing after positive developments in past days.
A Yemeni source confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat Friday that an initial agreement has been reached to hold a meeting of representatives from legitimate government and Iran-backed Houthi militias in the Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC).
However, the source said no agreement has been yet reached on the date and location of the meeting.
In February, both Yemeni parties engaged in long and intense discussions in order to find mutually acceptable solutions and associated timelines for the implementation of the Hodeidah provisions in the Stockholm agreement.
Houthi obstacles since then have obstructed the implementation of the agreement.
According to the first stage of the Stockholm deal, which was struck between the two sides last December, Houthis should pull back five kilometers from the Hodeidah ports of Saleef and Ras Issa.
Meanwhile, UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths will visit Russia on July 1 before heading to the United Arab Emirates and later Oman in an effort to advance the peace process.
Some observers criticize Griffiths when he speaks about a comprehensive solution to the crisis, interpreting it as an attempt to undermine the Stockholm deal. Sources asserted, however, that the envoy was exerting efforts to resolve the Hodeidah file and was closely following developments related to it.
Signs of a breakthrough in the Yemeni crisis emerged this week after Griffiths and RCC chief retired General Michael Lollesgaard met separately this week with Yemeni Vice President Ali Mohsen in Riyadh.
The meetings came to repair tense relations between the envoy and the legitimate government after President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi accused Griffiths of siding with the Houthis.
“The two meetings with the Yemeni VP were fruitful,” sources said.