Yemen government to meet UN chief over envoy’s ‘biased’ behaviour

Officials say they will not deal with Martin Griffiths until a meeting is held with the UN

Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi Mansour, President of the Republic of Yemen, addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 21, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, is expected to meet Yemen’s President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi to discuss complaints of “violations” carried out by his envoy, government officials said.

Martin Griffiths, the UN special envoy to Yemen, is trying to implement a peace deal reached between the government and Houthi rebels.

But he was accused of siding with the rebels after announcing their withdrawal from the flashpoint Red Sea port city of Hodeidah.

The redeployment of the Houthis from Hodeidah was part of the UN-brokered deal reached in Stockholm last December.

The government said the rebels had handed control of the port only to forces loyal to them, to which Mr Griffiths had turned a blind eye.

Officials in the government are standing their ground and say they will not accept the UN’s treatment of the rebels “as equal to the government”.

"The government is currently not communicating with the UN envoy until a meeting takes place between Mr Guterres or his representative on Mr Griffiths' performance," a government official, who asked not to be named, told The National.

“The meeting will most likely take place after Eid, which will be in the next few weeks,” he said.

President Hadi sent a letter to the UN chief late on Thursday in which he said the actions taken by Mr Griffiths undermined chances for peace in Yemen.

“Griffiths’ poor understanding of the Yemeni conflict makes him unfit for the post,” the letter said.

But in response, the UN chief assured Mr Hadi of his envoy’s impartial and trusted commitment to the peace process.

“The activities of my special envoy are in pursuit of the mandate entrusted to him by the parties and the Security Council,” the UN chief said.

“Fulfilling the mandate will need continued co-operation of the government of Yemen, and you personally, for which I am grateful.”

Mr Guterres acknowledged the peace process was “challenging and complex”.

The development comes as the Saudi development and reconstruction programme for Yemen signed a joint agreement with the government of Yemen on Sunday evening.

The project is in line within the “framework of cooperation between Yemen and Saudi and aims to support the reconstruction,” the Saudi Press Agency said.

The Arab coalition is leading a military coalition that intervened in Yemen in 2015 to restore the internationally recognised government of Mr Hadi, which was pushed out of Sanaa by the Houthis in late 2014.