UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths on Wednesday demanded Iran-backed Houthi militias immediately halt their offensive against Yemen’s northeastern governorate of Marib, calling for the resumption of the political peace process in the battle-weary country.
“Military conquest will not decisively end this war,” said Griffiths in his last UN Security Council briefing as a special envoy for Yemen.
While he slammed Houthis for their relentless military escalation in Marib, Griffiths appreciated peace efforts spent by Saudi Arabia, Oman, and the US, saying that there was still a chance to end fighting, resolve the dire humanitarian crisis and reboot the political process in Yemen.
“Despite redoubled efforts in recent months to reach a peaceful resolution to the Yemen conflict, I am unfortunately not here today to report that the parties are closing in on a deal,” he told the UNSC.
Griffiths then reported on the Houthis’ continued restrictions on imports through Red Sea ports in the coastal city of Hodeidah contributing to severe fuel shortages and price increases, restrictions of freedom of movement across the country, and the absence of a political process depriving Yemenis of some hope that an end to the conflict is near.
As for Marib, the envoy said the Houthi “offensive, which has been ongoing for more than a year, has caused an astonishing loss of life, including children who have been mercilessly thrown into the battle.”
Moreover, Griffiths called for political will from Yemeni parties, particularly the Houthis, to end the war.
“A deal can be achieved easily, very quickly, if the key political leaders heed the calls of Yemenis and ourselves to make that right decision,” he said.
A deal is still possible as there is strong international backing, and there is regional momentum for the UN's efforts.
Griffiths has been trying to broker a deal between the parties on a nationwide ceasefire, the reopening of the Sanaa International Airport and Hodeidah seaport for commercial operations, and the resumption of the political process.
It is worth noting that Griffiths, with this briefing, has completed about three years of service as a special envoy for Yemen. He will be the next undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, taking the reins from Mark Lowcock.