Yemen government denies quitting Stockholm agreement | Eurasia Diary -

16 October, Wednesday

Yemen government denies quitting Stockholm agreement

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Yemen’s internationally recognised government on Tuesday denied it was withdrawing from a landmark peace deal reached in Sweden.

The pact, known as the Stockholm agreement, was signed by the government and Iran-backed Houthi rebels last December and brokered by the UN special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths.

It includes agreements on a prisoner swap, a ceasefire and troop withdrawal from the Red Port city of Hodeidah, and the formation of a committee to negotiate the future of the contested city of Taez.

Recent local media reports suggested that Houthi escalations, in violation of the deal, had pushed the government to re-examine it position.

A government official denied the reports.

“No such move is in consideration,” the official told The National.

The government has reaffirmed the “UN adherence to the three references of the Yemen peace process and to the actual Stockholm deal,” he said.

“There’s been a lot of tension in the past month due to Mr Griffiths’ performance and [the] Houthis’ lack of adherence to the peace deal,” the official said, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The government will resume its meetings this week with Mr Griffiths.

“There’s work going on regarding Taez as well,” said the official. The southern city is besieged by the Houthis.

Mr Griffiths is in a tough situation, the official said, as the rebels are “refusing to implement” the Stockholm deal.

“He’s tried to please them too much, which has given him little leverage on them,” the official said.

Last month, Yemen’s President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi wrote a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres complaining about his special envoy’s conduct in mediating between the government and Houthi rebels.

The letter listed “violations” supposedly committed by Mr Griffiths in attempting to implement the Stockholm deal.

They includes the UN envoy’s treatment of the Houthis as a de facto government and his acceptance of the rebels’ unilateral withdrawal from three western ports in Hodeidah province without the presence of government observers as had been agreed.

Shortly after the letter was sent, an aide to Mr Guterres held discussions with Mr Hadi to defuse tensions.

“Hopefully, that should clear the atmosphere and allow for the resumption of a normal situation,” the official said.

“Mr Griffiths will set the atmosphere by how he’ll act now on. The briefing to [the] Security Council on June 17 wasn’t perfect but was a very good step,” the official said.

The government’s dispute with the UN envoy to Yemen is over the rebel handover of Hodeidah’s ports to coastguards who the government says are, in fact, rebel fighters disguised in different uniforms.

The war in Yemen broke out after the rebels seized Sanaa in 2014, driving the internationally recognised government from the capital.

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