SMA NEWS – NEW YORK
The Houthi assault in Yemen’s Marib province has caused “astonishing” loss of life, including many children, the UN’s special envoy for Yemen said on Wednesday.
“I cannot re-emphasize enough what is at stake in Marib,” Martin Griffiths told the Security Council during a briefing on the conflict.
He said the Houthi offensive, which has been ongoing for more than a year, “has caused an astonishing loss of life, including children who have been thrown mercilessly into the battle.
“Internally displaced persons, who have sought refuge in Marib continue to live in fear for their lives. Civilians have been displaced multiple times. And the offensive has been constantly disrupting peace efforts.”
Griffiths said he once again called on the Iran-backed Houthis to immediately stop its “unjustifiable” attack on Marib.
The Houthi militia, which controls much of northern Yemen after seizing the capital Sanaa from the government in 2014, has repeatedly refused to engage in peace efforts to resolve the six-year conflict.
Saudi Arabia, which is part of an Arab coalition supporting the internationally recognized government, proposed a peace initiative in March calling for a comprehensive cease-fire, the reopening of Sanaa airport and a restart of the political process.
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the plan at the time and urged all sides to take the opportunity to pursue peace.
Griffiths said the Houthis’ actions in Marib suggested that they believed the war could be won outright militarily.
“But military conquest will not decisively end the war,” Griffiths said. “It will only invite further cycles of violence and unrest.”
He added that he believed a peace deal was still possible.
“There is strong international backing and regional momentum for the UN’s efforts,” he said. “And I want to restate my gratitude to Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United States, among others, for their support.”