Yemen’s fourth United Nations envoy, Hans Grundberg, is expected to kick off his first tour of the region by heading to Riyadh later this week.
He is expected to meet with officials from the legitimate government in the Saudi capital. He will also meet with Saudi and Gulf officials, revealed a Yemeni government source to Asharq Al-Awsat.
Despite the low expectations that he could make a breakthrough in convincing the Iran-backed Houthi militias to end their military escalation, the government had declared that it will cooperate with the envoy to reach sustainable peace based on the three references.
Grundberg had kicked off his duties last week with a briefing at the UN Security Council. He also met with representatives of Arab countries, including the envoy from Oman, whom Grundberg believes can act as a liaison between him and the Houthis.
The Oman new agency reported the Grundberg had held talks with the Sultanate’s permanent envoy to the UN, Mohammed bin Awad al-Hassan, on the latest developments in Yemen and international efforts aimed at restoring peace and stability there.
Grundberg is hoping to achieve a breakthrough in Yemen, relying on his ten years of experience in the country.
He told the Security Council last week: “My experience with Yemen also makes me painfully aware of the complexities of this conflict. Unfortunately, these complexities multiply as the conflict drags on.”
“I am therefore under no illusions about the difficulty of the task handed to me by this Council. Enabling a resumption of a peaceful, inclusive, orderly and Yemeni-led political transition process that meets the legitimate demands and aspirations of the Yemeni people, as mandated by this Council, will not be easy. There are no quick wins.”
Observers believe Grundberg’s efforts will be thwarted by the Houthis’ usual obstruction and stalling. Nevertheless, they said he should focus on reaching a lasting ceasefire, especially in the Marib province where the Houthis have ignored international calls to end their months-long offensive.
Grundberg said he will meet in Riyadh with President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, his senior aides and other officials. He will then travel to the Houthi-held Yemeni capital Sanaa to meet with militia leaders. His tour will also take him to Muscat, Abi Dhabi, Kuwait, Tehran and Cairo.
Commenting on the appointment of the new UN envoy, the Houthis said they did not expect much from him, signaling that they will continue with their military operations that are focused on capturing oil and gas wells in Marib and expanding further south.