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On first visit to Marib, UN Envoy calls for immediate halt to fighting

UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths met on Saturday with the governor of Marib, Sultan Al-Arada, to discuss measures to de-escalate the intensified fighting between government and Houthi forces. The envoy’s visit comes following the Houthis’ capture of Al-Hazm city in neighbouring Al-Jawf governorate on Sunday.

“Fighting needs to stop now,” Griffiths said at a press conference in the governorate capital, Marib city, located east of the capital Sana’a. “Military adventurism and the quest for territorial gains are futile.”

Fighting intensified at the beginning of the year across several frontlines between Marib and Sana’a cities, with a resurgence of clashes in Serwah district of Marib, Nihm district of Sana’a, and several districts in Al-Jawf. In one of the most significant shifts in territorial control in years, the Houthis advanced into the governorate capital of Al-Jawf on Sunday, March 1.

“I am here on a one-day visit to meet with local authorities, tribal chiefs, civil society, women and youth as well as displaced Yemenis to listen to their concerns and make sure the world hears them with me,” Griffiths said during his first visit to the governorate. He praised the local authorities for their efforts to welcome internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Al-Jawf and surrounding areas in light of recent events.

Governor Al-Arada in turn welcomed the UN envoy and thanked him for his visit and efforts to reduce the fighting. "We are with true peace and it doesn’t honor us nor the UN envoy to be with a false peace,” he said. “There is no stability or development without peace, but peace under the shadow of a militia is not peace.” 

Al-Arada said that the influx of more than a million IDPs to Marib during the war has placed a heavy burden on the governorate, and noted that IDPs continue to seek shelter in Marib from the ongoing clashes in neighboring governorates.

Meanwhile, nine civil society organizations called on the local authorities to speed up humanitarian assistance in Marib, warning that an unprecedented humanitarian disaster is likely if the fighting is not immediately resolved.


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