UN envoy on Yemen visits Iran to discuss political solution

February 7, 2021 - 21:1

TEHRAN - The United Nations special envoy on Yemen, Martin Griffiths, began a two-day visit to Iran on Sunday to discuss issues related to the Yemen crisis.

During his first visit, the UN official is expected to meet with senior Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, according to a statement issued by the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen.

“The Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths has begun today a two-day visit to Iran where he is scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and other Iranian officials,” the statement said.

“The visit is part of the Special Envoy’s diplomatic efforts to support a negotiated political solution to the conflict in Yemen that meets the aspirations of the Yemeni people. The Special Envoy’s immediate priority is to support agreement between the parties to the conflict on a nationwide ceasefire, urgent humanitarian measures and the resumption of the political process,” the statement continued.

The visit came a few days after the new U.S. administration made remarkable decisions on Yemen such as suspending arms sales to Saudi Arabia and notifying Congress of its decision to remove Yemen’s Ansarullah movement from the U.S. government’s list of foreign terrorist organizations as well as ending U.S. support for Saudi military operations in Yemen.

“This war has to end. And to underscore our commitment, we’re ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arm sales,” President Biden said in a recent speech at the State Department while underling the U.S. commitment to ensuring Saudi Arabia’s security and territorial integrity.

The U.S. has also named veteran U.S. diplomat Timothy Lenderking as the U.S. special envoy for Yemen in a bid to step up American diplomacy “to end the war in Yemen, a war which has created humanitarian and strategic catastrophe,” according to a Reuters report.

Iran has cautiously welcomed these steps, saying they are a step towards correcting past mistakes if they are not a political gambit.

“Dropping support for, and refusing to sell weapons to the Saudi-led coalition can be a step towards correcting past mistakes if it is not a political gambit,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a statement on Saturday.

“Such a move alone will not resolve the Yemen issue, and it should be followed by the lifting of the air, sea and land blockade which has led to deaths of thousands Yemeni people due to a shortage of food and medicine,” he added. “The Saudi-led military attacks on Yemen by aggressor countries should stop, too.”

The spokesman pointed out that the international community and some countries which are accessories to Saudi crimes against Yemeni people by providing arms should stop their support for Saudi Arabia as well and not allow this humanitarian disaster to go on.

“Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia became more vulnerable by launching a war on Yemen, and, by leveling unfounded accusations against other countries in line with the United States’ maximum pressure policy, seeks to absolve itself from [any blame for] the military aggression on Yemen and the killing of thousands of women and children,” Khatibzadeh noted.

He stated, “Meanwhile, we hope hawkish countries will come to realize their strategic mistake regarding the aggression on Yemen, and, by admitting to their mistake over the past six years, put an end to the war and blockade on Yemen and go for a peaceful solution. Iran welcomes any efforts by the international community to back Yemen and cut off aggressors’ support, and believes its proposed four-point solution is still effective in solving the problem.”


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