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UN chief officially appoints Swedish diplomat as new UN envoy for Yemen

Serving as EU ambassador to Yemen since 2019, Swedish diplomat Hans Grundberg became the 4th UN Special Envoy for Yemen.

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On Friday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres officially announced the appointment of the Swedish diplomat Hans Grundberg as the UN’s new special envoy for Yemen. With this appointment, Hans Grundberg became the fourth UN special envoy for Yemen since the post had been established in 2012.

The official announcement came after several weeks of delay due to China’s evaluation of whether to give consent for the appointment since such a decision requires the consensus of the UN Security Council.

The Swedish diplomat’s name was informally circulated by UN officials within the council members to offer for consideration by mid-July, and 14 members expressed that they would approve the appointment. However, China demanded more time to consider the appointment. Being asked to comment why Beijing postponed its decision, an official from China’s UN Mission in New York left requests unanswered.

Grundberg has served as the EU ambassador to Yemen since September 2019. He replaced Martin Griffiths, who was appointed as the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and took office last month.

The appointment of the Swedish diplomat as the new UN envoy for Yemen was welcomed by Yemen’s internationally recognized government. Issuing a statement upon the announcement, Yemen’s Foreign Minister said, “All support will be provided to the new envoy with the aim of resuming the political process and reaching a comprehensive political solution that ends the coup and the war ignited by the Houthi militias and alleviates the suffering of the Yemeni people who are facing the worst humanitarian crisis.”

The statement also expressed the government’s hope that the new envoy will achieve to secure a comprehensive ceasefire through his experience and expertise in Yemeni affairs.

The US State Department also issued a statement, expressing pleasure by the appointment of the new UN Special Envoy for Yemen. Stating that Grundberg would bring significant expertise to Yemen and to the region, the statement added, “We look forward to working closely with him to advance a durable resolution to the conflict in Yemen.”

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