Swedish diplomat appointed as new UN envoy for Yemen

Hans Grundberg will replace Martin Griffiths, who has been appointed as the head of the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

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The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres named Swedish diplomat Hans Grundberg for the position of UN Special Representative for Yemen. While the Secretary-General informed the UN Security Council’s 15 member states, the appointment of Grundberg has not been made public yet, according to diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The announcement of the appointment is expected to be made in the upcoming days. Yet, two former Swedish foreign ministers, Margot Wallstrom and Jan Eliasson could not wait for the official announcement to congratulate Grundberg’s new post and delivered their messages through social media.

Hans Grundberg, a Middle East specialist who served as the European Union’s ambassador to Yemen since 2019, will succeed British diplomat Martin Griffiths, who has been appointed as the head of UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Addressing the Security Council in June, Griffiths expressed “deep regret” derived from failures in making progress in bringing an end to Yemen’s years-long conflict during his three years in the post.

Meanwhile, the internationally recognized government of Yemen officially approved the appointment of Grundberg as the new UN Envoy for Yemen. Foreign Minister Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak reportedly stated that his government officially informed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of its approval.

The appointment of the Swedish diplomat comes amid intensified military clashes concentrated on Marib, which is the last stronghold of the government in the north of Yemen, between the Iranian-backed Houthi group and the Saudi-supported government’s forces. According to local sources, the death toll from both sides was 310 due to armed clashes during the last week.

On the other hand, Grundberg reportedly held series of talks over the past few days with several Yemeni officials as well as representatives from the delegation of the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council who are currently in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

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