UN envoy in Yemen for 'sternest' talks

Martin Griffiths (C), the UN special envoy for Yemen, arrives at Sanaa international airport on Wednesday. — AFP

Sanaa — The UN Yemen envoy faced his “sternest test” on Wednesday as he flew into the rebel-held capital Sanaa for talks on averting all-out fighting for the lifeline port of Hodeida and widespread famine.

Under heavy Western pressure, the government and the Coalition have largely suspended a five-month-old offensive on the Red Sea port city as UN envoy Martin Griffiths makes the biggest peace push in two years.

The city is virtually the sole gateway to the capital and rebel-held territory in the densely populated highlands, and some 80 percent of commercial food imports and virtually all UN-supervised humanitarian aid pass through its docks.

Griffiths did not comment to waiting reporters on his arrival at Sanaa International Airport.

The international community is demanding in return that the rebels halt all offensive operations, particularly missile attacks on Saudi Arabia, and commit to joining talks on handing over of the port of Hodeida to UN control.

“Griffiths faces the sternest test of his young tenure,” said Brussels-based think tank International Crisis Group.

Griffiths said Monday he hoped the meeting will take place in Sweden “within the next few weeks”. No date has been set. — AFP