Griffiths to issue statement on Geneva talks amid Houthi absence

The United Nations special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths in a press conference on Yemen talks in Geneva.

:: In the latest development related to the Geneva talks sponsored by the United Nations on the Yemeni crisis, UN special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths is expected to issue a statement on the fate of the Geneva talks in the absence of the Houthi delegation, according to western sources.

Earlier on Friday, Griffiths said that he will continue his negotiations with the delegation representing the Yemeni legitimate government and other diplomats in Geneva, while working on bringing the Houthi delegation to Geneva.

In a press conference, Griffiths’ spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci, said that the UN special envoy to Yemen, started his negotiations with the Yemeni government delegation in Geneva on Thursday evening, and that he is still waiting for the Houthi delegation to arrive from Sanaa.

Meanwhile, Al Arabiya news channel correspondent reported that the delegation representing the Yemeni legitimate government will stay in the Swiss city, regardless if the delegation representing the Houthi militias arrives there to take part in the negotiations.

The Geneva talks were supposed to be held on Friday, but the Houthi delegation was presenting vague arguments to disrupt and thwart the UN sponsored talks according to Yemeni sources.

Meanwhile, the Houthi delegation on Friday evening rejected an offer to transport them by an Omani plane to Geneva after the aircraft was searched by the coalition backing the Yemeni legitimate government, according to Western sources.

For his part, the United States ambassador to Yemen said on Friday, that Geneva talks will resume within two weeks, if it does not start tomorrow.

Yemeni PM: Some of Griffiths’ ideas are good whilst others not so much

Yemen’s Prime Minister Ahmed bin Dagher said that the Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths had presented some good ideas to resolve the crisis in the country but that he had “made mistakes with others.”

Talking to Asharq Al-Awsat, bin Dagher said that he appreciates Griffiths’ efforts to find a solution to the crisis, and that the peace process in Yemen is complicated.

Yemen’s Prime Minister continued by saying that the peace process depended on the implementation of the Gulf Initiative, the outcome of national dialogue and relevant UN Security Council resolutions, including resolution 2216.

Commenting on the recent ideas submitted by Griffiths regarding a solution to the Yemeni crisis, the prime minister said that some of them “hit the mark” whilst others did not.

Bin Dagher noted that Griffiths wanted a partial solution in Hodeidah and that he informed the UN envoy that partial solutions would not succeed if they were not linked to “permanent, comprehensive, and just solutions” to the crisis.

He continued by saying that Griffiths wanted a cease-fire but that the Yemeni government told him that they would not accept that unless the Houthis accepted military and security measures before political solutions.

Asked whether the Yemeni government would accept any initiatives for an eighth truce along with confidence-building measures, Bin Dagher stated: “We have given the Houthis many opportunities, many truces. They always ask for a truce and when they got one, they would use it to strengthen their positions on the fronts and to obtain weapons and ammunition.”

Griffiths, who began consultations with the Yemen government delegation in Geneva on Thursday, still awaits representatives of the Iranian-allied Houthi movement from the capital Sanaa, UN spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci said Friday.

“He is still working on getting the Ansarullah delegation to Geneva,” she said.

“Since yesterday (Thursday) he has been discussing with them confidence-building measures, including the issue of prisoners, humanitarian access, the re-opening of Sanaa airport, in addition to economic issues,” she said.

The United Nations announced on Thursday that Griffiths was not expected to hold any talks at its Geneva offices on Friday.

Yemen’s Prime Minister Ahmed bin Dagher.

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