International Crises Call for the Involvement of the STC in the Peace Process

Reports

Tue, 14-09-2021 04:40 PM, Aden

(Brussels (South24 

The International Crisis Group called on the United Nations to renew its approach in Yemen, with the start of the mission of the new UN envoy, and to engage the STC in the comprehensive peace talks to end the war in Yemen.

In a recent report entitled "Ten Challenges for the UN in 2021-2022", the group said that the latter has made repeated efforts to mediate an end to the civil war in Yemen since 2015. With the exception of 2018, the Group of Five did not treat Yemen as an issue of urgent priority. When President Joe Biden took office, he promised that the United States would once again place its shoulder behind United Nations' peacemaking efforts. However, these efforts have been unsuccessful.

The Eurogroup said that the appointment of the new UN special envoy to Yemen, Sweden's Hans Grundberg, provides an opportunity to modernize the organization's approach. So far, the UN’s mediation efforts have been based on the assumption that this regional civil war – in which Saudi Arabia, Iran and the UAE have backed rival factions – could be ended through an agreement between two parties, the Houthi rebels who control the capital, Sanaa. And the internationally recognized government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, provided that Riyadh blesses the deal. This framework is outdated and has become an obstacle to political progress."

Therefore, the organization considered that "the first problem with the UN approach is that it does not reflect realities on the ground. "

"After six years of territorial fragmentation and proliferation of armed groups and sub-conflicts, the Huthis and the Hadi government are by no means the only political actors," the report stated.

"The Huthis are dominant in the northern highlands, the country’s main population centre, but the government and its allies are active only in pockets of territory. Elsewhere, local groups like the pro-independence Southern Transitional Council (STC), which ousted the government from its temporary capital in Aden in 2019, rule the roost.”

These groups “do not share many goals, but they are largely united in saying they will reject a political settlement they had no part in fashioning. For this reason, even if the UN were to broker a settlement under its cur- rent binary framework, the war would likely continue," according to International Crises.

On Friday, the new UN envoy to Yemen expressed deep concern about the situation in the Southern governorates, where violence rages regularly and basic services are miserably deteriorating.

Hans Grundberg told the Security Council that the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement still faces challenges, warning that peace cannot be sustained in the long term if southern voices do not play a role in shaping this peace responsibly.

In the light of limiting political settlement efforts to only two parties, international crises believe that a settlement will be "far from the end in any case."

The group says that "the Huthis believe they are winning and see little reason to negotiate a compromise when they can seize more territory by force. For its part, the government, probably rightly, fears that a compromise of any kind will spell the beginning of the end for its camp, given its institutional and military weakness".

The Crisis Group reiterated its recommendations to “rethink of the UN approach, to shift the incentives from fighting to dealmaking. Most importantly, it is necessary to switch from two-party mediation to a more inclusive UN process that brings more parties into negotiations. This shift would indicate to Hadi and the Huthis that they cannot stall political talks indefinitely and nudge actors like the STC to engage in talks rather than act as spoilers of a potential settlement," according to the group.

The European Community called on the United Nations to give Grundberg the necessary time and space to update the United Nations approach to conflict mediation and to signal its support for a more inclusive political process. 

South24 Center for News and Studies
Photo: Reuters

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