1st LD: No major acts of military provocation in Yemen during Gulf crisis: UN envoy

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, January 17, 2020
Adjust font size:

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- The top UN envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, on Thursday breathed a sigh of relief over the fact that Yemen emerged from the recent Gulf crisis unscathed.

"Since I last spoke to this council (on Dec. 12), our region has been going through a crisis, the consequences of which have threatened the gains we have been observing in Yemen. Fortunately, the immediate crisis seems to be over," Griffiths told the Security Council in a briefing.

He was referring to the extraordinary tension at the beginning of the year between the United States and Iran after the U.S. killing of Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps. In retaliation, Iran launched more than a dozen missiles at two military bases housing U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq.

"I venture to say that through the actions of many people, Yemen has been kept safe from such crisis for now. This achievement... is based on a consensus that Yemen must not be affected by regional tensions," he said.

"Most importantly, in this time of crisis, we have seen no major acts of military provocation in Yemen. This is remarkable. Indeed, it has been one of the quietest weeks of the war in Yemen since the war began (in 2015)."

In the past few weeks, apart from one airstrike, there was very limited military movement on the ground and there were no drone or missile attacks on neighboring states, he noted. "So I hope it is not premature to say that Yemen has emerged at this time unscathed."

This achievement has not come by chance. Yemeni leaders and leaders of the region have deliberately exercised restraint and withheld from acts of provocation, said Griffiths, the UN secretary-general's special envoy for Yemen.

The de-escalation is no small thing, and the fact that it has been sustained even during a period of regional crisis is notable, he said. "These efforts should not be judged by whether they achieve a perfect ceasefire, but by whether the parties' energies are directed thereto, away from war. However, experience also tells us that military de-escalation cannot be sustained without political progress between the parties."

Yemen has been in civil war for almost five years, pitting Houthi rebels against government forces. Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition force defending the internationally recognized Yemeni government against Houthi rebels allegedly supported by Iran.

Griffiths showed optimism about the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement between the government and the Southern Transitional Council and the earlier Stockholm Agreement between the government and Houthi rebels.

The parties' recommitment to time-bound measures to support the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement is a positive sign, he said. "I'm fairly confident that the implementation of that agreement is moving in the positive direction."

Despite an unsatisfactory record of implementation of the December 2018 Stockholm Agreement, the United Nations and the parties remain committed and as active as ever to implement the commitments, he said.

Although violence continues in the southern districts of the Hodeidah governorate, the relative calm at the front lines in Hodeidah city shows that the measures to enhance the de-escalation measures are working. "This is something we can build on," said Griffiths. Enditem

Follow China.org.cn on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from China.org.cnMobileRSSNewsletter