Yemen president slams UN envoy’s handling of war – letter

Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi
Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi

Yemeni president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi criticised the U.N.'s special envoy to the country in a sharply-worded letter to the U.N. chief, describing him as legitimizing Houthi rebels his Saudi-backed coalition is locked in a four-year war with.

The Iran-alignedHouthis, who ousted Hadi from power in the capital Sanaa in 2014, have steppedup missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia in recent days in a resurgence oftactics that had largely subsided since late last year amid United Nations-ledpeace efforts.

The attacks comethe same month that U.N. special envoy Martin Griffiths appeared to haveachieved a diplomatic breakthrough, getting the Iranian-aligned Houthis toagree a unilateral withdrawal of their forces from Hodeidah and two otherports.

The five-pageletter, addressed to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and dated May 22,outlines a litany of grievances directed at Griffiths, criticising "hisinsistence on dealing with the rebels as a de-facto government," referringto the Houthis.

The letter states that Griffiths has failed to properly oversee an agreement struck last year in Stockholm for a ceasefire and withdrawal plan for the port city of Hodeidah, and has not dealt with issues surrounding detainees and hostages.

"It is clearthe envoy has a weak understanding of the nature of Yemen's ongoing conflict,especially the ideological, intellectual, and political elements of the Houthimilitias and their fundamental rejection of the principles of democracy and thepeaceful rotation of power," stated the letter.

A UN spokesman said on Friday that Guterres reiterated his confidence in Griffiths after receiving the letter, and said the special envoy would double down on efforts to support both sides in the conflict and ensure that the Stockholm agreement is fulfilled, a U.N. statement said.

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