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UN sounds alarm over military escalation in Yemen

Warring parties 'are doubling down on military options,' says UN special envoy

Michael Hernandez   | 12.01.2022
UN sounds alarm over military escalation in Yemen

WASHINGTON

The UN on Wednesday sounded the alarm over continuing hostilities in Yemen, saying the warring parties have accelerated efforts to claim victory on the battlefield.

Hans Grundberg, UN Secretary-General’s envoy to the war-torn nation, told the Security Council that the parties to the conflict "are doubling down on military options."

"Seven years down the road of war, the prevailing belief of all warring sides seems to be that inflicting sufficient harm on the other will force them into submission. However, there is no sustainable long-term solution to be found on the battlefield," he said.

The parties, Grundberg said, should instead turn to the negotiating table "even if they are not ready to put down their arms."

Yemen has been engulfed by violence and instability since 2014, when Iran-aligned Houthi rebels captured much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

A Saudi-led coalition aimed at reinstating the Yemeni government has worsened the situation, causing one of the world’s worst man-made humanitarian crises, with nearly 80% or about 30 million people needing humanitarian assistance and protection, and more than 13 million in danger of starvation, according to UN estimates.

Against the backdrop of humanitarian catastrophe, the parties have continued to carry out offensives, including the Houthis who have been waging a months-long campaign to seize the strategic city of Marib, and government forces who have recently claimed the energy-rich province of Shabwa.

Grundberg said it again appears that the country is "entering an escalatory cycle with predictable devastating implications for civilians and for the immediate prospects of peace."

He maintained: "The continued imposition of road closures and checkpoints across the country, as well as the impediments to imports and the domestic distribution of goods essential for civilians, including fuel, is harming the population in unjustifiable ways."

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