THU 19 - 9 - 2019
May 27, 2019
The Daily Star
U.N. chief rejects Yemen president’s accusation of bias
DUBAI: U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has assured Yemen’s leader that the world body will remain impartial in efforts to resolve the country’s conflict, rejecting accusations that its envoy was siding with rebels. The pledge came in a letter from Guterres to President Abed Rabbou Mansour Hadi, who had accused the U.N. special envoy to Yemen of bias.
“I would like to assure you that every effort will be made to maintain the impartial stance that is expected of the United Nations,” while implementing a cease-fire agreement, Guterres said in the letter seen by AFP Sunday.
In his own letter addressed to Guterres, Hadi accused envoy Martin Griffiths of “providing the Houthi militia with guarantees to stay in Hodeida and its ports under the umbrella of the U.N.”
“I can no longer accept these offenses by your special envoy which threaten chances to find a [lasting] solution,” Hadi said.
Hodeida is the main entry point for the bulk of Yemen’s imports and humanitarian aid, providing a lifeline to millions of people.
Earlier this month, the United Nations supervised the rebels’ handover of the ports of Hodeida, Saleef and Ras Issa to a “coast guard,” but the government said they were in fact Houthi forces in different uniforms.
The pullback is in line with a cease-fire deal for Hodeida reached in Stockholm in December.
Guterres said he and Griffiths were prepared “to discuss the legitimate concerns of the government of Yemen referenced in your letter, which we take very seriously.”
He also gave an assurance that the United Nations had no plans to set up an international administration in Hodeida.
The U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, Lise Grande, Sunday condemned a deadly strike on a petrol station east of the city of Taiz.
The attack Friday killed 12 civilians, seven of them children, she said, updating an earlier death toll.
Houthi rebels said it was an airstrike by the Arab coalition.
Meanwhile, Saudi state news agency said Sunday that the kingdom’s air forces intercepted a drone launched by the rebels toward Saudi Arabia’s Jizan airport near the Yemeni border.
The rebel Almasirah TV earlier reported that the group had launched a drone strike on Jizan’s military hangars.
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