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UN envoy arrives in Houthi-controlled Sanaa to discuss peace plan

The envoy’s visit came following his meeting with the Houthi spokesperson in Muscat last week.

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The United Nations special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, arrived in Sanaa on Sunday, which is the capital of Yemen seized by the Iranian-aligned Houthi group since September 2014. The UN-brokered peace plan and the Houthi attacks towards the Marib region are the main issues of Griffith’s agenda.

UN envoy Griffiths will meet with Houthi officials to convince the group to accept the peace plan and stop their attacks towards Marib. During the talks, Griffiths will also discuss issues, including a nationwide ceasefire, lifting the blockade on Hodeidah ports, and the reopening of Sanaa airport.

The envoy’s visit came following his trip to Oman, where he met with the Houthi spokesperson Mohammed Abdulsalam last week. Last Friday, Griffiths called both the internationally recognized Yemeni government and the Houthi group to negotiate to bring an end to the years-long conflict and reach a peace agreement.

The Iranian-backed Houthi group previously rejected to meet with Griffiths and the US special envoy for Yemen, Tim Lenderking, as both diplomats have intensified their attempts to reach a solution for the conflict in Yemen. Last week, the US envoy paid a visit to Saudi Arabia and Oman to discuss the situation in Yemen.

So far, the Houthi group has rejected all international calls on stopping their military aggression towards the Marib region. In order to start peace negotiations, the group stipulates that the Saudi-led Arab coalition needs to stop their airstrikes and allow flights from and to Sanaa airport. The internationally recognized Yemeni government did not accept the Houthis’ demands.

Speaking to local media, Yemeni Foreign Minister Ahmad Awad bin Mubarak, on the other hand, expressed that his government welcomes all initiatives which would bring an end to the conflict. Mubarak added that the government looks for a “sustainable and comprehensive” peace.

On the other hand, armed clashes between the Houthi group’s forces and the Yemeni government’s forces have been ongoing on the field. Several contradictory reports regarding the death toll in clashes are being circulated in the local media of both sides.

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