UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths urged the Yemeni warring parties to accept proposals for a comprehensive ceasefire and launch the political process which enjoys broad international support.
Speaking during a briefing before the UN Security Council, Griffiths also called on the Iran-backed Houthi group to immediately stop its drones and ballistic missile attacks against civil facilities in Saudi Arabia.
He thanked Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the US for the closely coordinated support they provide to the proposal for a peaceful settlement and lauded the efforts exerted by US envoy Tim Lenderking to bridge the divide between the parties.
The international community is united in its demand to end the war in Yemen, according to Griffiths, who said that there is a “convergence of diplomatic voices in favor of an end to the war and its successful political resolution.”
Griffiths said that the priority is to call for a nationwide ceasefire and launch a “crucial, essential, unavoidable political process.”
The envoy asserted the “urgency of progress towards a peaceful settlement makes the continued violence on the ground... all the more concerning.”
He explained that Marib remains the major center of gravity in this conflict, and the situation is showing dangerous signs of escalating once again.
“I am also alarmed by multiple drones and ballistic missile attacks carried out by Ansar Allah against Saudi territory but also in Yemeni territory particularly during the past week, including against civilian facilities.”
The envoy announced that the UN Mission for Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA) has been undertaking intensive discussions on the resumption of the activities under the umbrella of the Redeployment Coordination Committee.
"In Hodeidah, impediments to the entry of ships will be lifted, allowing those ships carrying fuel and other crucial commodities to berth, all of them, and to discharge their cargo," he added, noting that revenues from the tax on these ships will be put towards civil service salaries.
“Sana’a airport will see flights to international and national destinations.”
Speaking at the same meeting, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, warned that COVID-19 is moving fast, and vaccines won’t be enough to suppress the second wave.
Lowcock indicated that tens of thousands of people are already starving to death, with another five million just a step behind them, indicating that March was the deadliest month for civilians so far in 2021.
The offensive in Marib is a severe threat to millions of people, including more than one million internally displaced persons, indicated Lowcock.
The situation has escalated in Taiz and Hodeidah again, with heavy civilian casualties.
He announced that regular UN flights have been approved and will start soon, lauding the efforts of the Yemeni government and the Coalition “who are working with us to facilitate that.”
For her part, the US Representative to the UN, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, asserted that diplomacy “can, should, and must end the war in Yemen.”
She welcomed Saudi Arabia’s March 22 announcement of its commitment to reach a ceasefire and engage in inclusive political talks to help end the conflict.
The envoy also lauded the Yemeni government’s continued commitment to reaching a ceasefire, urging the Houthis to respond and to engage productively.
Russian Deputy Permanent Representative, Dmitry Polyanskiy also welcomed the Saudi initiative to peacefully resolve the crisis in Yemen, stressing that it is in line with Griffiths’ plan.