The German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, praised the Saudi efforts to achieve peace in Yemen, saying at the international meeting in Berlin yesterday that his country sensed “the serious will of Saudi Arabia and the Yemeni government to stop the war.”
On the other hand, he held the Houthis responsible for the continuation of the conflict and the deterioration of the humanitarian situation, saying that “the Houthi attack on Marib threatens to fuel the humanitarian situation,” which is already deteriorating.
Yesterday, the German capital, Berlin, hosted a meeting to support international and international efforts seeking to end the war in Yemen, called by the five permanent members of the Security Council, in addition to Kuwait, Sweden and the European Union.
The UN envoy Martin Griffiths participated in the “Berlin meeting”, who called for “seizing the opportunity” to achieve peace in Yemen, and stressed the importance of “returning all parties to negotiations in good faith and without preconditions.”
He also participated in the German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who criticized the Houthi attack on Marib. No statement came out from the meeting, but Maas and Griffiths confirmed before the start of the meeting that the goal is to mobilize international support for efforts to stop the fighting and restore political dialogue.
The American envoy to Yemen Timothy Lenderking, who resumed his diplomatic trips to advance peace in Yemen yesterday, also participated in the meeting in Germany, and from there he will continue his visit to the Gulf for the fourth time since he took office in February.
A statement issued by the US State Department, yesterday, stated that Lenderking’s discussions shed light on the steps that the international community can take to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people.
The statement indicated that Lenderking will arrive in the region tomorrow (Wednesday) to hold meetings with senior government officials, and his discussions will continue to focus on joint international efforts to promote a “peace agreement”, without indicating whether he will meet the Houthis.
In turn, Germany held the Houthis responsible for the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen, and the lack of progress in political negotiations. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that “the Houthi attack on Marib threatens to inflame the already deteriorating humanitarian situation.”
Referring to the Houthis’ obstruction of the political solution, Maas said, during a joint press conference with the UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths, that ideas of returning “to a political solution exist”, but “it depends on the parties to the conflict to adhere to them”, adding that Germany sensed a “serious will.” From Saudi Arabia and the Yemeni government to stop the war, ”he blamed the Houthis for the continuation of the conflict.
Although the German Foreign Minister said that Yemen “seems very far from resolving the conflict, and that the situation on the ground continues to deteriorate,” he added that “efforts must be made to find a political solution to the war in Yemen, and that there is no military solution to the conflict there.” For months, Germany has been leading mediation in Yemen in support of the efforts of the United Nations, and the German capital often hosts secret meetings of representatives of the Houthis and the legitimate Yemeni government, in an attempt to bridge views.
During the press conference with MAS, Griffiths announced a plan presented by the United Nations aimed at “a ceasefire, all kinds of fighting, and the reopening of the main road between the north and south, including Taiz,” which he said had been under “a long-standing siege.” Taiz has been under siege for years by the Houthis, and its people are prevented from leaving, while they are suffering from severe shortages of food and medicine, among others.
Griffiths said that the goal of the United Nations proposal to open the road between the north and south is “the delivery of humanitarian aid to all areas, and to ensure the free movement of civilians.”
He also referred to efforts to reopen Sanaa airport, which is controlled by the Houthis, and to deliver goods and oil through the port of Hodeidah, provided that its revenues contribute to paying the salaries of employees in the public sector. He added, “We hope that there will be agreement on these humanitarian issues in order to create a good atmosphere for the parties with the aim of moving to a political dialogue under the auspices of the United Nations to end the fighting.”
The German Foreign Ministry spokesman announced the meeting at the end of last week, saying that his country is “very concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen.”
The spokesman said that the meeting will focus on “efforts to support the United Nations for a ceasefire and steps to build confidence between the conflicting parties, with the aim of returning to political dialogue,” noting that “there is still room without a doubt for diplomatic initiatives, although the situation is very difficult, and it is necessary.” To obtain public support for diplomatic efforts by the international community with the aim of moving the stalemate.
Last month, Germany, along with France, Italy, Britain and the United States, issued a statement condemning “the Houthi attack on Marib and the dangerous escalation of the attacks carried out by the Houthis on Saudi Arabia.” The statement said at the time that “their determined attack on Marib is worsening the humanitarian situation.”
The statement indicated at the time that the negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations, and facilitated by Saudi Arabia, the Sultanate of Oman and the international community, were “the best hope for ending the war.” Western countries urged the Houthis to “seize the peace premise to end the ongoing escalation.” The statement stressed at the time the commitment of Western countries to Saudi Arabia’s security, and to restore stability to its borders with Yemen.