UN concerned over Yemen hostilities, describes situation as "tense"

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-01 07:35:29|Editor: Yang Yi
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UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- The United Nation's special Yemen envoy wrapped up separate visits with leadership of the two warring parties and expressed concern on Thursday about the recent fighting, calling for de-escalation and "utmost restraint."

Special Envoy Martin Griffiths "expressed concern about recent hostilities in Yemen and called on all parties to exercise utmost restraint and de-escalate tensions, in Hodeidah and in other parts of Yemen," Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN chief, said in a note to press.

Asked during a regular briefing about the situation in Yemen, Dujarric said: "The situation on the ground remains tense. The ceasefire is holding ... none of the parties have tried to gain territory. But, it is a situation that remains fraught with danger."

Griffiths ended his visits with the Houthi rebel leaders in the Yemeni capital of Sana'a, and with Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and the supporting Saudi-led coalition in Riyadh, the spokesman said in his note.

The envoy also met in Hodeidah with retired Maj. Gen. Patrick Cammaert of the Netherlands, who leads the advance team to monitor the implementation of the deal reached in Sweden by the Yemeni parties and has been serving as chair of the troop Re-deployment and Coordination Committee (RCC) and head of UN Mission in support of the Hodeidah Agreement (UNHMA), Dujarric said.

The accord reached in Stockholm last month called for re-deployment of fighting forces in order to open the key Red Sea Port of Hodeidah to allow in humanitarian aid.

In Sana'a, Griffiths met with Houthi leader Abdulmalik Al Houthi, in addition to senior Houthi leaders," the spokesman said.

"The purpose of his visit was to discuss the rapid and effective implementation of the Stockholm agreement," Dujarric said, adding he also discussed the deployment of UN staff in support of the implementation of the Hodeidah ceasefire.

"The special envoy is encouraged by the responsiveness demonstrated by the leadership of Ansar Aallah in that regard," the spokesman said, referring to the Houthis by their Alias.

Griffiths also discussed the resumption of political consultations, stressing "the importance of achieving substantial progress in implementing the Stockholm agreement."

During his visit to Riyadh, Griffiths received assurances from the Yemeni president, Hadi, and the Saudi-led coalition of their "continued commitment to respect and fully implement the Stockholm agreement," the spokesman said.

Griffiths expressed the appreciation that the parties demonstrated "the necessary flexibility and good faith" regarding the timelines for implementation and technical challenges following the Stockholm agreement, Dujarric said.

The envoy also welcomed the positive engagement and commitment of the Houthis and the Saudi-led Coalition in the release of a Saudi-detainee, in need of urgent medical treatment, and seven Houthi detainees, the spokesman's note said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday announced Cammaert, who was serving on an urgent, temporary basis, was being replaced by Lt. Gen. Michael Anker Lollesgaard of Denmark, who, like Cammaert, has experience as a UN peacekeeper.