Sanaa, June 27 (IANS) UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths arrived on Wednesday in the port city of Aden to broker a ceasefire between the Saudi Arabia-backed government forces and Shia Houthi rebels.
A government official, who asked to remain anonymous, told Xinhua news agency that Griffiths arrived at Aden International Airport amid heavy security deployment and headed to the Presidential Palace to hold a meeting with the country’s President Abdu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and other high-ranking officials.
The UN envoy is expected to make an effort by presenting a new peace deal to stop an all-out military offensive against the the Houthis in the western port city of Hodeidah, Xinhua news agency reported.
According to the government official, Griffiths might broker a ceasefire and discuss the results of his talks with Houthis, suggesting the latter to cede control of the Red Sea port to a UN-supervised committee.
Another Aden-based government official said he was not confident that a UN-supervised deal can be achieved between Houthis and the Yemeni government to prevent an escalation of fighting around Hodeidah.
He said that expelling the Houthis out of Hodeidah was a “sovereign decision” made by Hadi after “exhausting all political solutions to convince Houthis to withdraw from Hodeidah peacefully”.
“It is impossible to stop the ongoing military operation aimed at retaking Hodeidah and ending the civilians’ suffering there. It’s not an appropriate time for negotiations because Houthis lost that chance,” the government official added.
Last week, Griffiths held similar meetings with Houthi leaders in the country’s capital Sanaa, but reached no constructive outcomes regarding the rebels’ withdrawal from Hodeidah.
Hodeidah is the only lifeline route of supplies and humanitarian aid to northern Yemen, which is under control of the Iranian-allied Houthis.
The Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to roll back the Houthi rebels’ gains and restore Hadi’s rule. The war has killed over 10,000 people, mostly civilians and forced three million others to leave their homes.