The UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths (C) speaks to the press at the Sanaa International Airport after concluding a two-day visit to the Houthi rebel-held Yemeni capital, in Sanaa, Yemen, May 31, 2021. Martin Griffiths said Monday that the blockade on Sanaa airport and Hodeidah seaport should be lifted. Griffiths arrived in Sanaa on Sunday and met with Houthi chief Abdulmalik al-Houthi, according to Houthi-run al-Masirah TV. (Photo by Mohammed Mohammed/Xinhua)
SANAA, May 31 (Xinhua) -- The UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths said Monday that the blockade on Sanaa airport and Hodeidah seaport should be lifted.
"Obstacles should be lifted to allow fuel and goods reaching the Yemenis," Griffiths told reporters at Sanaa airport after concluding a two-day visit to the Houthi rebel-held Yemeni capital.
"There is a need for a cease-fire, reopening roads for the movement of the Yemeni people and returning normal life to Yemen," Griffiths said, adding that he will re-discuss this issue with the Yemeni government and Saudi officials.
Griffiths arrived in Sanaa on Sunday and met with Houthi chief Abdulmalik al-Houthi, according to Houthi-run al-Masirah TV.
Al-Houthi told Griffiths that the blockade is "a collective punishment," calling for the United Nations to press on the Saudi-led coalition to lift it.
"It is the right of the Yemeni people to obtain fuel, medical supplies and foodstuffs, and this humanitarian issue cannot be exchanged for the cease-fire," al-Houthi was quoted by al-Masirah TV as telling Griffiths during their meeting.
Griffiths also told the reporters at Sanaa airport that the Houthi offensive on the government-controlled Marib impedes peace efforts and endangers millions of lives.
The Iran-backed Houthis began in February a major offensive against the Saudi-backed Yemeni government army to capture the oil-rich province of Marib, which hosts nearly 2 million internally displaced people.
The United Nations has warned the offensive on Marib could lead to a major humanitarian catastrophe.
Griffiths' recent brokered negotiation between Yemen's warring sides and other relevant parties has failed to produce a cease-fire agreement.
Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014 when the Houthi militia seized control of several northern provinces and forced the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa.
The Saudi-led Arab coalition intervened in the Yemeni conflict in March 2015 to support Hadi's government.
The war has killed tens of thousands of Yemenis, displaced 4 million and pushed Yemen to the brink of famine. Enditem