Yemeni govt discusses 'confidence-building measures' with foreign delegations at UN talks: Source

Reda Shaaban, Tuesday 11 Dec 2018

Martin Griffith
Martin Griffith, Special Envoy for Yemen of the UN Secretary General speaks during a press conference at the Johannesberg Palace in Stockholm, Sweden on December 10, 2018 (Photo: AFP)

The Yemeni government delegation to Sweden spoke about "confidence-building measures" with more than 20 ambassadors attending the ongoing UN-sponsored talks in Sweden, a source told Ahram Online on Tuesday.

The source, affiliated with the foreign ministry and currently attending the negotiations with the Houthis, said the delegation presented "their efforts to reach concrete results in terms of building confidence," adding that the ambassadors stressed their "full support for the talks and pleasure with the positive atmosphere.”

The talks between the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the Houthi militants started on Thursday and may end by next Friday.

Stressing the "legitimacy" of the Yemeni government, the source said the latter has the right to guarantee the security of the port city of Hodeida through its interior ministry, which is temporarily based in Aden.

The government delegation demanded to be responsible for administering the Hodeida port through its officials who were in charge before the "Houthi coup" and under the supervision of the transportation ministry.

The transportation ministry is also temporarily based in Aden.

Their demands also include transferring all revenues, including those of the port, to the branch of the central bank in Hodeida—which has its main headquarters in Aden—in order to pay salaries.

Moreover, the Yemeni government does not object to a UN supervisory role.

Concerning Taiz, the source said that during the delegation’s meeting with the team of the UN envoy Martin Griffiths they stressed the importance of lifting the siege over the southwestern city and allowing the entrance of humanitarian assistance "without restrictions."

This process also includes giving the Houthis the maps for landmines that have been planted, forming a committee to work on demining, and re-opening the crossings that lead to Taiz on the basis of a detailed plan.

The source added that the delegation spoke with the UN officials about deals for swapping prisoners, detainees, arbitrary detainees and those under house arrest.

The delegation is currently listing them and preparing for meetings with officials of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to discuss implementation mechanisms.

Griffiths pointed out earlier that he is "not giving guarantees" for any of the parties to the Yemeni conflicts, as this is not one of his tasks.

Griffiths stressed the importance of building confidence among the parties, and said his role would involve facilitating a deal that serves the purposes of political stability and disarmament in Yemen.

Stating that he would inform the UN Security Council about the results of the talks, Griffiths noted that the talks in Sweden involved discussions about multiple issues through meetings that have taken place over the past few days.

He expressed his hope for a new round of talks between the parties to the Yemeni conflict by January 2019 to discuss security arrangements, which may be hosted by Kuwait, assuring that he will develop a plan for the talks.

Previous negotiations in Switzerland and Kuwait did not succeed in stopping the war between the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthis, putting the majority of the Yemenis in need of UN humanitarian assistance.

The war started more than three years ago and has led to the death of more than 11,000 civilians, the injury of tens of thousands others, and the displacement of three million people.


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