Yemen’s political council rejects UN envoy as peace mediator
Yemen’s Supreme Political Council, the country’s top governing body, says it will no longer maintain contact with United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, calling him biased.
Speaking in a televised speech late Monday, Saleh al-Samad, the Council’s head, said the UN envoy would no longer be allowed entry to the areas in Yemen that are controlled by the Houthi Ansarullah movement.
“We say unanimously that the envoy is no longer welcome here. There will be no more contact with Ismail Ould Sheikh Ahmad and he is not welcome here,” Samad said.
Ahmed was “not desirable” in efforts to resolve the conflict gripping Yemen, he said, adding that if the UN chose another envoy, that individual will have to “respect the people’s will.”
Samad further said that the new decision had been taken jointly by the Houthis and their allies in former president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s General People’s Congress party.
Meanwhile, Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam supported Samad’s position and accused the UN envoy of having abandoned his neutrality regarding the conflict in Yemen and not respecting UN resolutions.
Two weeks ago, Ahmed visited the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, in a bid to broker a ceasefire for the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and prevent any Saudi attack on the port city of Hudaydah.
Yemeni demonstrators, who were calling for an end to the Saudi blockade on the Sana’a Airport, attacked the Mauritanian diplomat’s convoy as it was traveling from the airport to the UN compound. The UN envoy’s bodyguards fired into the air to disperse the protesters.
Following the trip, Ahmed told the UN Security Council that negotiations to broker a truce in Yemen had been slow and warring parties were reluctant to discuss the concessions needed for peace.
He also said that Houthi officials had refused to meet with him during his latest visit to Yemen.
The UN envoy further expressed deep concern about the attack on his convoy and urged an investigation of the incident.
Saudi Arabia has been leading a brutal military campaign against Yemen for more than two years to eliminate the Houthi movement and reinstall a Riyadh-friendly former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. The Saudi military campaign, however, has failed to achieve its goals.
The protracted war has already killed over 12,000 Yemenis, and the US and the UK have been assisting the Saudis in the war on Yemen.