The United Nations and its Secretary General Antonio Guterres are seeking to whitewash UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths’ actions after the legitimate government in Yemen accused him of bias in implementing the Swedish agreement and the redeployment in Hodeidah and its ports.
UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo will visit Riyadh on Monday and Tuesday to meet with Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and other officials to discuss the situation with Griffiths, news agencies reported.
During her visit to Riyadh, DiCarlo will meet with “Saudi and Yemeni officials to discuss regional peace and security issues, including the situation in Yemen,” announced the UN.
The legitimate government and Yemeni activists stepped up their rhetoric against the envoy and accused him of bias towards Houthis and attempting to legitimize the Houthis’ security forces, which the militias claimed would take over the security and management of ports after their withdrawal.
The Yemeni campaign culminated three weeks ago with a letter sent by the Yemeni President to the Sec-Gen confirming the accusations against Griffiths and demanding a review of his performance, a message to which the UN Secretary-General responded by asserting his confidence in the UN envoy.
However, the ongoing campaign prompted Guterres to send his political assistance to Riyadh to meet Hadi in an attempt to whitewash Griffiths’ actions and reassure the legitimacy that the latter will abide by his mission.
The President sent a letter to UN Sec-Gen accusing Griffiths of bias towards Houthis, saying he worked to provide Houthis guarantees to stay in Hodeidah port under UN umbrella.
“We will give a final and final opportunity to the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Martin Griffiths, to confirm his commitment to the three terms of reference in all his efforts and to enforce the Stockholm Agreement,” the letter read.
“I also want to stress that I can not accept the excesses that your Special Envoy is offering and that threaten to break the chances of a solution that the people are looking for,” he said.
The Sec-Gen responded to Hadi saying that the international organization will spare no effort to maintain Sweden agreements.
“I can also assure you that the United Nations has no intention of establishing an international administration in Hodeidah,” said Guterres.
Griffiths is expected to present his briefing on June 17 where he is likely to report that progress is being achieved in the implementation of the Sweden Agreement, even though the government delegation of the UN mission to monitor the deal, led by Lt. Gen. Michael Lollesgaard, suspended meetings with the Envoy in protest against abuses in the implementation of unilateral redeployment.
Yemeni officials assert that the Swedish agreement means the withdrawal of Houthi militias while government forces and legitimate local authorities manage and secure the Hodeidah port.
Houthis say that the agreement provides international monitoring over the ports and the redeployment process only. Regarding the city and the three ports, the militias believe they must remain under its security and administrative control, as stated in previous statements of its leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi.
Yemeni government accuses Griffiths and Lollesgaard of trying to break the solution in Hodeidah, while the militias continue to consolidate their forces in various areas of Hodeidah and its southern countryside.
Meanwhile, Houthi militias refused to grant entry visas to their areas for about 60 UN observers sent by the Security Council.
Houthis also seek to persuade the UN to transfer the inspection and verification mechanism of vessels and goods arriving in Yemen from Djibouti port to Hodeidah port itself, which is seen by the legitimate government as a step to facilitate the smuggling of weapons.
Many observers believe the UN Envoy will not be able to lead the negotiation phase of comprehensive political and military solution, which will not be initiated according to legitimacy, unless measures to establish trust and good intentions of Sweden’s agreement are established.