UN envoy to Yemen calls on parties to build on progress, establish ceasefire

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UN Envoy to Yemen Hans Grundberg reiterated on Wednesday that Yemeni parties have an obligation to build on progress made so far and take decisive steps toward peace in the country.

Speaking during a briefing at the UN Security Council on recent developments and peace efforts in Yemen, Grundberg said that he has continued his engagement with the Yemeni parties and regional partners to establish a ceasefire and launch a political process.

“The truce provided a conducive environment and starting point,” he said. “But the fragility of the military situation, the dire state of the economy and the daily challenges facing Yemenis are reminders why a more comprehensive agreement between the parties is so vital.”

He said that continuing reports of violence across frontlines, including in Al-Jawf, Taiz, Marib and Saada, highlight the fragility of the current situation and underscore the need for a formal ceasefire.

“Inconsistent financial and economic policies in different areas of the country have hit citizens and businesses hard, with businesses facing particular uncertainty in Sanaa and surrounding governorates,” he said.

Grundberg told delegates that May 3 marked World Press Freedom Day, but said that while the recent release of four journalists was “a welcome step, media professionals across Yemen continue to face threats, harassment, imprisonment and confiscation of their offices and assets.”

He was referring to the April 16 release of journalists Tawfiq Al-Mansoori, Abdul Khaleq Amran, Akram Al-Waleedi and Hareth Humaid, who had been sentenced to death but were released as part of a prisoner swap after eight years behind bars.

“Only an inclusive and comprehensive political process can sustainably forge a new political partnership and a secure and economically stable future (and) this political process will need to address complex issues on the long term and must start as soon as possible,” the UN envoy said.

“The recently held dialogue among a number of southern political groups in Aden underscored, once again, the urgent need for Yemenis to collectively discuss and define their own future through a Yemeni-led, UN-sponsored process.”

Grundberg had concluded a visit to Sanaa and Aden earlier this month, where he held talks with Yemeni President Rashad Al-Alimi and stressed the importance of maintaining the momentum and building on the progress achieved by the parties.

“Meaningful and effective participation is not only about the number of female and civil society participants but also about providing a space for women and the civil society to address their priorities and contribute with their perspectives and expertise,” he told the Security Council meeting.

Meanwhile, Grundberg concluded a trip to Washington on Tuesday where he met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other senior officials to explore ways to support UN efforts to help the parties implement short-term and confidence-building measures, achieve a sustainable ceasefire, and resume inclusive dialogue.

“We agreed that all current efforts and momentum should gear toward an inclusive, intra-Yemeni political process under UN auspices as the way to reach a sustainable political settlement in Yemen,” Grundberg said. “We also discussed ways to sustain concerted international and regional advocacy to accompany the Yemeni parties on a path toward lasting peace and democratic transition.”

Blinken conveyed his gratitude for Grundberg’s leadership in “advancing a durable end to the war, in lockstep with intensive US diplomacy,” the US State Department said.

He also recognized the UN’s achievement, directly supported through US diplomatic engagement, in securing the April 2022 truce, it added in a statement.

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