Focus on Yemen ‒ Maas meets UN Special Envoy
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas met the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, Martin Griffiths,, © Florian Gaertner/photothek.net
The situation in Yemen is dramatic, with no sign of a solution to the conflict even after six years. Germany is holding talks in Berlin with its international partners on how to provide concrete support to the UN Special Envoy for Yemen’s efforts to achieve peace.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas met the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, and the new US Administration’s Special Envoy for Yemen, Tim Lenderking, in Berlin today (12 April). The Foreign Minister discussed their talks in the region and the current situation in Yemen with the two Special Envoys. The situation in the country has deteriorated further recently. Following a months-long military offensive by Houthi rebels against the city of Marib to the northeast of the capital Sana’a, there is the risk of another humanitarian disaster. After the meeting, Foreign Minister Maas underlined that Germany is continuing its support for the people in Yemen:
Realistically, we have to say today that unfortunately, we are still far from finding a political solution to the Yemen conflict. Fighting is continuing at the same high level of intensity and brutality; laboriously negotiated political compromises and small steps forward often dissolve into nothing in a short period of time; and words can barely describe people’s suffering in Yemen. However, giving up or resigning ourselves to the terrible hardship in the country is not an option.
Support for mediation by the United Nations
Germany is not only active in Yemen in the field of humanitarian assistance. The German Government is also expressly supporting the United Nations’ endeavours to achieve a political settlement to the conflict. The focus here is on proposals by Special Envoy Griffiths for a return to a political peace process between the parties to the conflict, entailing a nationwide ceasefire, confidence-building measures between the parties to the conflict, and political talks led by the United Nations. Foreign Minister Maas called on the parties to the conflict to actively take up and carry out these proposals.
Close coordination with international partners
After the talks with Foreign Minister Maas, the two Special Envoys attended a virtual meeting of senior officials, hosted by Germany, in what is known as the P5+4 format. This is an important format in the Yemen conflict. In addition to the permanent members of the UN Security Council, that is, the P5, the format includes the countries working intensively to secure a political settlement to the conflict, namely Germany, Sweden, Kuwait and the EU. The first meeting in this format at foreign minister level took place on the margins of the UN General Assembly in 2019. Today’s discussion focused on the question of which very concrete measures the participating countries can provide to ensure better support for the UN Special Envoy and his team in order to come closer to reaching lasting peace and greater stability in Yemen.