UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths said Thursday he plans to invite Yemen’s warring parties to Geneva for peace talks on 6 September, Anadolu reports.
Speaking at a meeting of the UN Security Council, Griffiths said it is time to resume a political process in Yemen to resolve the crisis, alluding to previous peace talks that failed.
Griffiths said the September talks “will provide the opportunity for the parties, among other things, to discuss the framework for negotiations, relevant confidence-building measures and specific plans for moving the process forward”.
According to Griffiths, the war has intensified — particularly in the city of Hudaydah — despite all efforts to end it.
Shuttling between the warring parties to avert a coalition assault on Al Hudaydah, Griffiths recently visited Yemen for peace talks with Houthi rebels to end the four-year conflict.
“We have tried to find a way to avoid a battle for the city and the port of Al Hudaydah, and we are still trying,” he told the council, describing the Red Sea as a platform for a “war theatre”.
Calling on the parties to avoid any actions that would worsen the humanitarian catastrophe in the country and undermine a political solution, he urged them to create a favourable environment for a political process.
According to John Ging, director of the Operational Division at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 75 per cent of Yemen’s population, or roughly 22 million people, are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection.
Impoverished Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when Shia Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa, and Al Hudaydah.
The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a massive air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.
The violence has devastated Yemen’s infrastructure, including its health and sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe the situation as “one of the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times”.