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UN Special Envoy for Yemen meets Houthi official

The meeting came following the US’ criticism towards the Iranian-backed group after the latter rejected to meet with Griffiths on his previous visit to the region.

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The United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, met with the top negotiator of the Iranian-backed Houthi group Mohammed Abdulsalam. During Griffiths’ previous visit to the region, the Houthi official had not agreed to meet with him, which attracted heavy criticism from the United States.

Following the meeting, the Houthi negotiator Abdulsalam, who is residing in Oman, stated, posting on his Twitter account, that the urgent need to lift an air and sea blockade to accelerate “the humanitarian agreement” was discussed during the meeting with the UN envoy. He also highlighted that the lifting blockade would furnish an occasion “for wider talks on a permanent ceasefire and a comprehensive political settlement.”

Martin Griffiths, who has recently been appointed as the head of OCHA, the UN’s top relief body, is coordinating the international efforts to bring an end to the years-long war in Yemen, which has caused the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis.

The UN envoy’s latest visit to the region came at the same time that the US Special Envoy for Yemen, Tim Lenderking, visited Saudi Arabia and Oman, where he held talks with officials to discuss ways to establish a comprehensive ceasefire in the war-torn country.

The Iranian-backed group stipulates the lifting of the embargo that the Saudi-led coalition implemented on the country’s main port and airport, which are both under Houthi control. On the other hand, the Saudi-led coalition insists that the lifting blockade is only possible if Houthis accept the ceasefire deal.

Calling the coalition on halting restrictions on all Yemeni ports and airports, US envoy Lenderking heavily criticized the Houthi group due to their uncompromising attitude rejecting to involve ceasefire talks.

Besides, the Houthi group is maintaining its offensives towards the Marib, which hosts over one million displaced civilians. Over the Houthis’ unresponsiveness towards all callings to stop its military aggression towards Marib, the United States has imposed sanctions on two Houthi commanders who lead the Houthi campaign against the region.

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