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article imageUN envoy to Yemen says there is growing momentum to end Yemen war

By Ken Hanly     Nov 23, 2019 in Politics
Martin Griffiths the UN envoy to Yemen claims that the he is seeing a growing momentum to reach a deal to end the long war in Yemen that has now lasted five years. He says that something is changing in Yemen.
Reduction in the tempo of the war
Griffiths cited improvements to a ceasefire but also the major decline in airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthis calling this a "reduction in the tempo of the war".
Reduction in airstrikes
Over the past two weeks there has been an 80 percent reduction in airstrikes. However, this is only for the last two weeks and could represent just a temporary slacking off or it could represent a shift in priorities for the coalition. However, the Houthis too have continued a halt to missile and drone strikes on Saudi Arabia as they have promised. This may lead both sides to work on a permanent ceasefire.
Behind the scenes peace talks being held
A recent article notes: "The Associated Press reported last week that Saudi Arabia and the Houthis are holding indirect, behind-the-scenes talks to end the war mediated by Oman in the Gulf nation, quoting officials from both sides."
Separatists and Saudi-supported Yemen government agree to power sharing
For a while it looked as if the coalition led by Saudi Arabia against the Houthis could break up as Southern Separatists took over Aden and some surrounding areas and rejected any establishment of the Hadi government that the Saudis support. However, Saudi Arabia was able to negotiate a power-sharing agreement on November 5th that prevented a break-up of the state that the Saudis are attempting to restore. Griffiths said that the agreement could serve as a catalyst to reach a political settlement for the war.
Despite some setbacks there has been progress on a ceasefire in Hodeida port
The Houthis have agreed with the government on a new way to deposit taxes and customs fees for commercial oil and gas shipments through the port that averted a crisis and allowed fuel ships to use the Hodeida harbor. The Houthis are supported by Iran and control much of the north of Yemen including the capital Sanaa. Hodeida is a key port for supplies to come into the country including much needed humanitarian aid.
Griffiths also said that the two parties ha strengthened their adherence to the cease-fire in the area through establishing a cease fire enhancement and de-escalation mechanism. This had reduced the number of security incidents by 40 percent in the area. In the city itself the creation of five joint observation post led to an 80 percent reduction in security incidents in the city itself.
More about Martin Griffiths, Yemen War, Hodeida
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