Yemen’s President Hadi accuses UN envoy of siding with Houthis

In a letter sent to UN chief, Hadi says Martin Griffiths threatens ‘prospects for a solution’ to the conflict.

Yemen''s warring sides meet at UN-sponsored peace talks
President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi also warned his government would stop dealing with the UN envoy [File: Stina Stjernkvist/Reuters]

Yemen’s internationally recognised president has accused the United Nations special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, of siding with the country’s Houthi rebels.

In a letter addressed to UN chief Antonio Guterres, Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi accused Griffiths of undermining chances for peace and warned his government would halt all dealings with the UN envoy, Hadi’s office said on Friday. 

“I can no longer tolerate the violations committed by the special envoy, which threaten prospects for a solution,” read the five-page letter, a copy of which was released to reporters on Thursday. 

It also accuses Griffiths of treating the “rebels as a de-facto government and as an equal to the legitimate and elected government” of Yemen. 

The conflict in Yemen began with the 2014 takeover of the capital, Sanaa, by the Houthi rebels. A Saudi-led coalition, allied with Hadi’s government, has been fighting the Houthis since March 2015. 

The fighting in the Middle East’s poorest country has killed an estimated 60,000 people and left millions suffering amid a lack of food and medical care. 

Tensions arose between Griffiths and Hadi last week after the UN announced the long-delayed Houthi withdrawal from the flashpoint port city of Hodeidah.

Hadi’s government accused Griffiths at the time of turning a blind eye that the rebels had allegedly only handed control of the port to “militia leaders” loyal to them.

The “redeployment of Houthis” from Hodeidah was part of a UN-brokered deal reached in December.

Hadi, who at the start of the conflict fled to Saudi Arabia while his internationally-recognised government based itself in the southern port city of Aden, went on to say that Griffiths’s “poor understanding” of the Yemeni conflict makes him unfit for his post.

While briefing the UN Security Council on the situation in Yemen last week, Griffiths urged the warring sides to maintain momentum of the Houthi withdrawal from Hodeidah – the country’s lifeline to foreign aid – and to work urgently on a political solution to the devastating conflict. 

There were “signs of hope” but “also alarming signs” that could threaten progress, Griffiths said, a reference to continuing clashes in the southern Dhale province. 

Later on Friday, Houthi rebel leader Mohamed Ali al-Houthi tweeted that Hadi’s letter to the UN chief was “a miserable attempt to curtail peace.”

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies