The UN special envoy for Yemen said he is not only trying to renew and expand the truce that expired last month but to get the warring parties to initiate talks on a path toward a settlement of the eight-year conflict.
Hans Grundberg’s appeal for talks coincided with the US strongly blaming Houthis for their “failure” to respond to calls for a return to the peace track. Also, Saudi Arabia has urged UN Security Council members to take a “decisive stance” against the Iran-backed group.
The UN Security Council on Tuesday listened to a briefing from Grundberg, who reviewed the situation in Yemen seven weeks after the expiration of the truce on October 2. The envoy reiterated the need for a political process under the auspices of the UN.
“A political process under UN auspices will be needed to reach such a resolution and the sooner we can start that work in earnest, the greater our chances of reversing the devastating trends of this war,” said Grundberg.
Deputy US Representative to the UN Richard Mills, for his part, said that Washington remains “deeply concerned” towards the Houthis having failed to set negotiations on a path to a more durable peace and have instead taken actions that run counter to the strong, ongoing international support for UN-led peace efforts in Yemen.
“Recent Houthi terrorist attacks on the al-Dhaba oil terminal and the Qana seaport are unacceptable. They are an affront to the Yemeni people and the entire international community. These Houthi attacks on commercial vessels delivering essential goods are directly exacerbating the suffering of Yemen’s people and threaten to plunge the country back into conflict,” said Mills.
“In addition, the US Navy interdicted 170 tons of lethal materials used as missile fuel components and explosives that were hidden aboard a ship bound for Yemen from Iran on November 16,” he reminded.
The seized fuel component was enough to enable the launch of more than a dozen medium-range ballistic missiles.
The Permanent Representative of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations, Abdulaziz Alwasil, for his part, stressed that the international community needs to take a clear and honest position on the Houthi targeting of Yemenis, neighboring countries, and commercial shipments.
Houthis have launched ballistic missiles and drone attacks against civilian targets.
Alwasil called on the UNSC to discuss the situation in Yemen “in all its dimensions and in full transparency and objectivity.” The meeting, he added, comes against the backdrop of “serious political and security developments threatening Yemen and the region with more instability and insecurity.”