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UN envoy calls for ‘serious steps’ to bring peace to war-torn Yemen

UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg holds a press conference at Sana’a International Airport before leaving the Yemeni capital on May 3, 2023. (Photo by AFP)

The UN special envoy for Yemen has urged both parties of the war to take “serious steps” toward lasting peace amid intensified mediation efforts to resolve the eight-year conflict.

During a visit to Japan on Monday, Hans Grundberg stressed the need to maintain and intensify international advocacy for a sustainable political settlement that ushers in a future of durable peace and development in Yemen.

“This is a critical time. The parties have a responsibility to build on the progress achieved and take serious steps toward lasting peace,” he said.

“The coherence of the international community and its unity of objective on Yemen will be pivotal assets in this regard.”

In parallel with UN efforts led by Grundberg, Oman has also been trying to close gaps between Yemen’s Ansarullah resistance movement and Saudi Arabia.

The peace efforts are aimed at extending a UN-brokered ceasefire, which is still largely in place despite its official expiry last October.

In April, Omani and Saudi delegations held peace talks with Ansarullah officials in Sana’a.

‘US to disrupt peace process’

Also on Monday, the al-Masirah television network reported that Washington has stepped up its “interferences” in Yemen, citing meetings between the US Ambassador to Yemen Stephen Fagin and members of the so-called presidential leadership council, Faraj al-Bahsani and Sultan Ali Al-Arada.

During both meetings, the report said, Fagin advised the council not to pay the salaries of state employees out of oil revenues. 

“Despite being announced that meetings come to ‘discuss peace efforts and a political settlement in Yemen,’ they have completely different goals,” the report added.

“They come within the framework of the counter-move taken by the Americans to undermine the Omani mediation efforts and thwart the efforts to end the aggression against Yemen.”

Last week, Ansarullah chief Abdul-Malik al-Houthi accused the United States of “obstructing real peace” and “fair entitlements for our dear people.”

Saudi Arabia started a brutal war of aggression against Yemen in March 2015, enlisting the assistance of some of its allies, including the United Arab Emirates.

The war, which has enjoyed generous arms, logistical, and political support from the United States and several other Western governments, has been seeking to restore power in Yemen to the country’s former Riyadh- and Washington-friendly government.

The former Yemeni government’s president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi resigned from the presidency in late 2014 and later fled to Riyadh amid a political conflict with Ansarullah. The movement has been running Yemen’s affairs in the absence of a functioning administration.

The war has, meanwhile, killed tens of thousands of Yemenis and turned entire Yemen into the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

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