The UN Envoy: No Peace in Yemen without South


Sat, 11-09-2021 01:07 AM, Aden Time

New York (South24)

The UN Special Envoy to Yemen Hans Grundberg stressed that peace in Yemen won’t last without a role played by the southern voices in establishing it, noting that the “impact of the conflict on the diverse range of grievances and demands in the southern governorates cannot be ignored”.

On Friday, during  his first speech before the UN Security Council, Grundberg said that "the situation in the southern governorates, where there have been regular flare-ups of violence, is also deeply worrying. Basic services and the economy have deteriorated into a desperate state".

"The implementation of the Riyadh Agreement continues to face challenges, and the government is not performing its functions from Aden. In this context, the impact of the conflict on the diverse range of grievances and demands in the southern governorates cannot be ignored. Peace in Yemen will not be sustained in the long term if southern voices do not play a part in shaping it responsibly" he added.

In response to his statements about South, the STC welcomed “this Direction”.

On his Twitter account, Amr Al-Bidh,  Special Representative of the STC’s President for Foreign Affairs, wrote: “the STC will work together with the Special Envoy  to make it applicable within the first stages of the peace process”.

In his speech, the UN Envoy said :”The epicenter of the military confrontation has shifted over time with combatants taking turns on the offensive. Since early 2020, the focus has been on Ansar Allah’s sustained offensive on Marib governorate, in which thousands of young Yemenis have lost their lives. Civilians, including the many internally displaced persons who sought refuge in Marib, live in constant fear of violence and renewed displacement. The UN and the international community has been clear in its message: The offensive must stop.”

He continued: “In Hudaydah, the City continues to experience a noticeable decline in ceasefire violations, while hostilities in the southern districts of the governorate are of particular concern. The UN Mission to support the Hudaydah Agreement, UNMHA, continues its vital work, including to urge the parties to come together through joint dialogue to define a sustained way forward”.

According to Grundberg, “The conflict in Yemen also spills across borders, threatening regional security and international waterways. I am particularly concerned about targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure inside of Saudi Arabia”.

He demanded that :”the fighting must stop, the violence has to come to an end”, urging  “external actors to encourage de-escalation” and that “ their involvement should be based on supporting a Yemeni-led political settlement. A peaceful and stable Yemen is essential for the stability of the entire region”.

Political complexities 

“My experience with Yemen also makes me painfully aware of the complexities of this conflict. Unfortunately, these complexities multiply as the conflict drags on” he said.

The Special Envoy admitted that “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”.

Grudberg believes that “every detail of daily life in Yemen is somehow tied to difficult political questions that demand a comprehensive resolution. State institutions have split apart, hobbling the economy and leaving citizens and businesses to navigate dizzying and often contradictory administrative requirements”.

He went ahead with his speech saying: ”Roads must be opened to allow people and goods to move in and out of Taiz. Sana’a airport needs to be open for commercial traffic. Restrictions on the import of fuel and goods through Hudaydah port must end”.

The Special Envoy noted that “the peace process has stalled for too long. The conflict parties have not discussed a comprehensive settlement since 2016. This has left Yemenis stuck in an indefinite state of war, with no clear way forward. It is therefore long overdue for the conflict parties to engage in peaceful dialogue with one another under UN facilitation the terms of an overarching settlement, in good faith and without preconditions”.

“The UN’s approach to ending the conflict must be inclusive. To define the best way forward, I intend to assess past efforts, identify what has worked and what hasn’t, and listen to as many Yemeni men and women as possible. The way forward must be guided by the aspirations of the Yemeni people” he added.

Participation of all parties

Moreover, The Special UN Envoy to Yemen  said:” I will do our utmost to ensure the meaningful participation of women in all aspects of our engagement and to integrate gender perspectives across all issues”.

Additionally, He pledged that “The UN is obligated to strive for  a sustainable peace that protects the full range of their civil and political as well as economic, social and cultural rights. A peace that ensures accountability, good governance and state institutions that serve all citizens equitably”.

Grundberg stressed that he “will spare no efforts in trying to bring together actors across conflict lines, to engage Yemenis from all political perspectives and societal components and from all parts of the country, to discuss under UN auspices how they can find common ground and resolve their differences without resorting to force”.

He concluded: “My first consultations with Yemeni, regional and international actors will soon start. I will shortly travel to Riyadh to meet with President Hadi and other members of the Government of Yemen. I also look forward to meeting with Ansar Allah leadership and other Sana’a-based actors, as well as other political actors throughout Yemen. And I plan to meet with regional leaders in Riyadh, Muscat, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Tehran, Cairo and elsewhere”.

Grundberg is the fourth UN Special Envoy to Yemen since the eruption of the crisis in 2011, and the Fifth since the 1994 War between North and South. All the former UN Envoys failed to solve the crisis.

- South24 Center for News and Studies
- Security Council yesterday, Friday (official)

Hans GrundbergYemenSouth YemenSTCKSASouthern Issue