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Sana’a: Three Stops Showing Houthi Enmity towards UN Envoy Ould Cheikh | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, speaks to reporters upon his arrival at Sanaa airport on a visit to Sanaa, Yemen May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

London- Bridging the gap between speculation and action come three political stops displaying animosity harbored by Houthi insurgents in Yemen against the United Nations Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh.

Houthi media outlets had promoted false news on Ould Cheikh’s reassignment to Libya, after being relieved of his duties in Yemen.

Firstly, when Ould Cheikh decisively pushed for insurgents, comprising Iran-aligned Houthis and armed loyalists backing ousted Ali Abdullah Saleh, to relinquish their arms’ plan in an effort for peace, they retaliated by officially contacting the United Nations Secretary-General demanding the envoy be removed and replaced.

The putschists accused Ould Cheikh of bias.

Secondly, comes the attack on 25 January which targeted the Special Envoy’s attack in Sana’a after which Houthi spokesman Mohammad Abdulsalam tweeted: “There is no truth to what is stated in the statement made by the UN Envoy on conducting any meeting with us or with those who represent us in any way during his recent visit to the capital Sana’a.”

Thirdly, president of the Houthi-run supreme political council Saleh al-Sammad said that the UN envoy has become an unwanted visitor in insurgency-held areas.

“We sent out letters to the UN Secretary-General who appointed the UN envoy that wanted to strike a deal compromising the Hodeida port that his envoy is no longer wanted.”

Ahmed was in Sana’a for three days of talks aimed at preventing military action at the strategic port of Hodeidah, the entry point for 70 percent of Yemen’s food supplies as well as humanitarian aid. However, insurgents see the port as central for their militia arming and upper-hand over their north-east de facto capital.

“Any communication with Ould Cheikh is neither welcomed nor accepted,” he added.

Consultant and political analyst focusing on the Middle East Dr. Manuel Almeida says the justification for Houthis demanding Ould Cheikh be removed is his bias, “but they have time and time again undermined efforts devoted to establishing a settlement for peace in keep with the UN Security Council Resolution 2216.”

Marginalizing the UN envoy is another jab at peace efforts, said Almeida.

For his part, Ould Chiekh tweeted on the night of the rumor spread that his visit to the Saudi capital of Riyadh was successful as part of efforts to reach a peaceful solution in Yemen.

He said he will “continue to help warring parties reach a peaceful solution in the hope that the holy month of Ramadan will inspire them to put the nation ahead of personal interests.”

Political analyst Abdullah Ismail believes that Ould Cheikh’s increased push for peace was a key reason in Houthis banning the UN envoy.

“Their enmity with Ould Sheikh is old, and Houthis have neither a logical or political strategy nor a clear vision, and only speak in terms of hostility,” said Ismail.