The new UN envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, said Tuesday that the political forces in war-torn Yemen are ready to embrace a political solution.
“The good news … is that a political solution to bring an end to this war is available,” Griffiths told the UN Security Council.
“This can be done. All those with whom I spoke, from the widest range of the Yemeni political spectrum, have told me that they want this, that they want is quickly, that they will work with the United Nations to achieve it,” said Griffiths, who took up the post of special envoy of the UN secretary-general for Yemen on March 11.
Both President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and the leadership of the Houthi rebels have expressed their willingness to end the war, he said. But he cautioned that a successful outcome of negotiations will require patience, diligence and good faith between the parties.
A negotiated political settlement through inclusive intra-Yemeni dialogue is the only way to end the Yemeni conflict and address the ongoing humanitarian crisis, he said. “To this end, all parties to the conflict need to abandon preconditions to talks and grant my office unhindered, unconditional access to all relevant stakeholders.”
Griffiths said he will submit a framework for negotiations to the Security Council within two months. “We must first turn our energies to the business of stopping the war.”
He voiced concern over the increased number of missiles launched by Houthi rebels into Saudi Arabia in the last few weeks.
Saudi Arabia is leading a military coalition in helping President Hadi regain control of the country. The rival Houthi forces are reportedly supported by Iran.
Griffiths said military confrontation and airstrikes have continued in many parts of Yemen, with “disturbing reports” of civilian casualties.
He was also worried by unconfirmed reports that movement of forces in Yemen is on the increase and that intensive military operations in Hudaydah may be forthcoming.
“Our concern is that any of these developments may in a stroke, take peace off the table,” he warned. “We all need urgently and creatively to find ways to diminish the chances of these game-changing events, upsetting and derailing the hopes of the great majority of Yemenis.”
“There is a saying that the darkest hour is the one before dawn. Let us hope this is the case,” said Griffiths.