3 December 2020 – Representatives of civil society from Taiz met virtually today with the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths to gather their views on a solution for Taiz in line with the Stockholm Agreement and solicit ideas on how to improve the current situation.
Mr. Griffiths acknowledged the vital importance of Taiz to peace in Yemen and its longstanding role as an epicenter of Yemen’s history, politics, economy and culture. He regretted that no progress has been made on the Statement of Understanding on Taiz, which was agreed in Stockholm in December 2018. He deplored the dire humanitarian situation due to the continued closure of roads, sustained military activity and insecurity and condemned all violence against civilians, including children, and attacks against civilian infrastructure in the city and governorate from all warring sides.
“The human cost of the war in Taiz is unacceptable. We will continue our efforts to bring about a political solution that will eventually silence the guns and benefit all Yemenis, including the people in Taiz,” Mr. Griffiths said.
The civil society representatives discussed with Mr. Griffiths their efforts and priorities and exchanged views and recommendations for possible UN support in a solution for Taiz. The participants highlighted local initiatives to mediate between the parties for opening roads, improving public services and de-escalating violence. They also stressed the need for the inclusion of the inputs of civil society actors in the UN-facilitated political process and discussed with the Special Envoy ways to improve coordination between local and UN mediation to improve the situation in Taiz. The Special Envoy further updated the group on the process of the Joint Declaration highlighting the benefits for Taiz such as the implementation of a nationwide ceasefire and the opening of roads.
He also commended all efforts made by civil society to alleviate the suffering of the people of Taiz.
“The inspiration, creativity and resilience represented in this virtual room by all of you is a lighthouse for the rest of us. Since the beginning of the war, you have worked tirelessly to open roads, to allow much needed humanitarian access under the most complex and difficult circumstances”, he said.
Mr. Griffiths further stressed that his office will continue engaging and soliciting views from civil society, including women and youth groups that would feed back to the political process.