Transcript of the Interview of Al Saeeda TV with Martin Griffiths, broadcast on 8 February 2021
Transcript of the Interview carried out on 4 February by Al Saeeda TV with Martin Griffiths, and broadcast on 8 February 2021
Saeeda: I would like first of all to welcome Mister Martin Griffiths welcome to you. But before we start with the interview, I would like to express our thanks in my name and behalf also on the side, this is the first meeting for the media with you and this is one of the few meetings that you are with because you do not talk too much to the immediate soul we are very thankful for all of you for all the efforts, thank you.
Martin Griffiths: I am very grateful to you and to Al Saeeda for this opportunity to speak to the people of Yemen. This is a real privilege and an honor for me thank you
Saeeda: Mr. Martin let us start with the interview. Now you are very optimistic. You are known to be optimistic. Are you still optimistic about a peaceful settlement in 2021?
Martin Griffiths: Well, I want to deal with the issue of optimism because it is very important but before I do, could I just briefly touch on two key issues which I think are important in terms of whether we can be optimistic or not. The first issue is, of course, the attack on the airport of Aden on the 30th of December and as you may know, I went to Aden a few days afterwards and had meetings there with the government of Yemen and the governor of Aden and I just want to say that for the United Nations and I have said this publicly, we are not able yet to say exactly who did this attack. We have experts in Aden at the moment looking into this and am sure they will come up to the conclusion but and this is important. I think any attack of that sort, threatening the lives of one of the parties in this case the government of Yemen with a new cabinet, a unity cabinet great difficulty to put that cabinet together. A threat to that which of course the attack was unequivocally is bad news for Yemen and that is why I was very clear to go there quickly but also to say this should not have happened this should not have happened. Whatever the motive of whoever did it, this threat to the government of Yemen is bad for the prospects of peace in Yemen so I want to make that clear first, we condemn the attack unequivocally.
Secondly, it is this issue of designation of Ansarallah as a foreign terrorist organization which has caused a lot of discussion. Again I am on record along with the United Nations Secretary-General, and others saying that our concern with this designation is not whether or not Ansar Allah has done this or that act our concern is very simple. It goes again to the heart and what I hope we will discuss today: the needs of the people of Yemen we worry a lot and we have seen no reason not to worry about the impact of this designation on commercial imports in particular into Yemen. And we know eleven million people in Yemen depend on those commercial food imports for survival and even now when famine is looming we believe strongly this is not the moment to impede or block or make more difficult the humanitarian programme at government and the commercial imports upon which it really relies so I want to be clear that the issue of designation for us is not about who did this or which did that, it is a humanitarian issue, and we are very concerned and we said so very publicly as you know that the designation has the probability of getting in the way of the people of Yemen being able to survive. That is our strong view, as in that case we were open about this in saying that we hope this will be reviewed and as you know, the United States government is in the process of reviewing precisely that move made by the previous administration.
Can I come on to optimism after those too slightly you know pessimistic incidents? I feel very strongly from many many years of experience I am a very old man, in many conflicts in many parts of the world, that if you do not have hope to get out of the conflict, to end the conflict, the effect is that people do not try to resolve the conflict. It is essential for the mediator which is what I am, to inspire hope for the people but for the parties, that if they do certain things, make certain concessions and make certain decisions that they can end this conflict and Yemen can return to what we all want, a country of rights of prosperous economy and where Yemen was before this conflict started so hope for me is the essential ingredient to drive it forward towards resolution it does not mean to say, and I know you that there is a problem here, that sometimes hope can be misconstrued and cannot lead to I have often said I want certain things to happen and they have not happened; and people say to me you promised this and it did not have it how does this work I am saying we need hope but we need realism we need realism and hope together. And without that we will not make progress
Saeeda: Concerning hope and optimism sometimes hope without realization makes people frustrated. Last year for example especially at the end of 2020 there was exaggeration in the hope that the parties are going to meet that there is going to be a solution etc and nothing of this happened on the ground so this is one way we hope is frustrating
Martin Griffiths: Yes, frustration I entirely agree with you I mean I am frustrated too by the way.
But more importantly than you and me being frustrated, the people of Yemen have entirely a huge right to be frustrated and even to be more than frustrated, to be angry at the fact that these hopes have not been realized. And actually I entirely understand when they criticise me for this, because they say you, the United Nations Envoy, you said we would fix it, you said we would have a ceasefire, we have not had it, what are you doing? I understand that.
By the end of last year, let me be straightforward with you, I became very frustrated as well and I started to speak in my monthly conversations with the United Nations Security Council to say I am not sure this is going to work out you know. We have a proposal for a ceasefire opening up the ports and airports and roads and we have been negotiating it now for ten, eleven months and I began to think that one or other the parties at any one time would not agree to it. I have not lost hope I have not lost the energy to pursue it, but I totally understand frustration, and in fact you know what, frustration is a good thing in this sense because it is right to be frustrated with the parties whose job it is to agree to do these things, with the United Nations whose job it is to help parties do it. I think a frustration and indeed anger is entirely understandable I get it I get it I have children I know what it is like when there's no prospects no immediate prospects of kids going to school, so yes frustration.
Saeeda: Mr. Martin now concerning frustration, frustration went beyond the frustration with the Yemenis which is the feeling of lack of trust in the United Nations, but even in the personality of the special envoy. Are there any plans that you have in mind for rebuilding this trust in the Yemenis with the United Nations with a special envoys, particularly taking into consideration that we in Yemen and Yemenis we really have hopes lots of hopes with you and [with the previous government?], particularly because of the mandate that you have, we had lots of hopes with you.
Martin Griffiths: Can I answer that by talking a little bit about what I think my role is as a mediator, because people often understand what my role is. I am a mediator, which means I have no military behind me, I can not enforce solutions I am here to help the two parties: the Government of Yemen and AnsarAllah to come to agreements they decide whether they will make agreement I do not. and I know that people in him often say but you should force them to come to agreement a mediator does not have military force mediators job is to give the parties the opportunity to do the right thing and if they do not choose to do the right thing then they are accountable for that. And that is the truth. You can blame me if you like but what you are doing that is you blaming the messenger I find that there are people in both of those parties who are as keen as you and I, for peace and for an end to this conflict because of course they are from Yemen. There are also people in both those parties who do not want to make the necessary concessions to come to an agreement. We call them spoilers and they exist in all conflicts and they exist in Yemen. My job is to continue facilitating and encouraging dialogue, find common ground to build agreements.
Saeeda: Mr. Martin we understand you all and I thank you very much for clarifying that, but we will talk about other things about the hopes that people have, it is like the Experts Committee, for example, the Sanctions Committee, etc, but I would like just to be clear with you, usually are you criticized that you are favouring one side against the other and many times we hear people saying that the special envoy is with this party with that party, to the extent that some people would call for the resignation of the special envoy.
Martin Griffiths: Now I have heard those calls I have heard those calls and though I serve of course at the disposition and the convenience of the Secretary-General the United Nations look. People can see me as favouring one side or another and if over time I am seen to be favouring once I do another then probably I am doing my job because I want to understand both sides but let me very let us be very clear about. The proposals that I put forward for example in that Joint Declaration to one or other party for agreement these are not my proposals these are proposals that come out of negotiation with one or other party this is not me saying you need to sign this this is the two parties negotiating with each other and what happened because of covid and the lockdown and the difficulty of travel was that I, in the United Nations became the negotiator more than the mediator because I had to go to one party or the other. I kept saying I still keep saying by the way to both parties you need to sit down across the table from each other and negotiate with each other. Do not negotiate with me, negotiate with each other I am not from Yemen I am here to help you meet the other and to negotiate with each other as indeed they are by the way at the moment in Amman sitting down across the table and trying to get more prisoners released and sent home to their families. That is the intention.
Saeeda: Yes. I heard about the issue of exchange of prisoners that is humanitarian and aims to rebuild the trust, if it succeeds 100% as one of the fragmented solutions, but this guides me to another question. What about the comprehensiveness of the solution? Is the United Nations committed to the comprehensive solution or is it going to be prone to other, to fragmented solutions for example?
Martin Griffiths: I am really glad you asked that question because my mandate the United Nations mandate in terms of trying to resolve this conflict is focused on the political solution and the end of the conflict bringing peace. United Nations has certain values as you know. We see the necessity of an agreement which brings in an accountable government which restores the rights of the people of Yemen to work, to travel, to bring up their children, to have freedom according to the law, and to be able to do that with citizenship which is respected. We believe in these values we believe in them everywhere and we believe in that in Yemen that my job is to try to make sure that in any final agreement between the parties these values are central to it. Obviously they will decide but we will not be party to any eventual political settlement which does not protect the rights of the people of Yemen now that is the main goal for what we have been doing beforehand and in advance of that and in order to get to that goal is for example to improve the circumstances of the people even during the war that’s why we want a ceasefire. To stop this fighting that is why we want the ports of Hudaydah to open we want Sanaa airport to open we want the roads to open and salaries be paid while we prepare the ground for the two parties to agree and I wish they could do so as soon as possible to engage on the real issues of restoring accountable government.
Saeeda: You implicitly answered the question about the airport and roads opening. this is what we wish to happen, and this is we go back to the same point, so we would like to also talk about the prisoners, the prisoners exchange agreement. There are lots of stages have happened, but until the moment the deal has not been achieved, in its totality, is not that another challenge is in that another frustration for people or are you still optimistic that they are going to have a deal at the end?
Martin Griffiths: When the two parties agreed to create this committee which they bring together with our help, to agree on exchange of prisoners and the release of prisoners, as we all remember they said all prisoners out, all-for-all. Both sides said this. Of course, who would not want that to happen the sooner all or out the better. We want the families to get their loved ones back and as we realized in trying to achieve that, we realize the two parties would negotiate on all of the names that were to be released. And if we were to wait for all the names of all the prisoners to be released, we would we would still be waiting, and none would have been released as was released as you know over a thousand towards the end of last year, so the parties agreed to do it piece by piece. And what they are doing in Amman at the moment is to agree on a further three hundred or more names to be released and then after that more and more and more. I find the discussion of prisoner release to be frustrating why? it is a humanitarian issue simply put, it is a humanitarian issue.
Saeeda: What about another fragmented solution, which is the Hudaydah deal, the Hudaydah agreement, It has not been fulfilled from 2018 will only hear about complaints of all or violations we have only about the changes of the people there with the United Nations.
Martin Griffiths: The Hudaydah agreement taught me a very important lesson and it speaks to your question which is that. And it is your general question, and I am actually very sympathetic to it, which is this: small deals do not end the war and do not build peace if you try to get a ceasefire in one place as is the case with Hudayda, the forces will go to another front to fight there and we learnt that lesson an out of Hudaydah. And when I went to Ma’rib in early March last year, and met people there, they all said to me if there is another ceasefire in Yemen make sure it covers the whole of Yemen, that it is not like Hudaydah just one governorate because it will not solve the problem. Do not have a ceasefire for Marib and have a ceasefire for Yemen. and we have learned that lesson and the result is that we have been pushing ever since that time when the Secretary-General did his call for a global ceasefire because of Covid. We have been pushing for a nationwide ceasefire so we have learnt the lesson of that, but I want to say something else about the Hudaydah agreement it is absolutely true that it has not achieved all its ambitions but it is also true that the Hudaydah agreement whether you like it or not, did prevent what I still think and now as I did then, would have been a major loss of life in the battle for the city on the ports of Hudaydah. secondly that battle would have had an immediate impact on the humanitarian pipeline into Yemen. The Hudaydah agreement was a humanitarian agreement to protect the city of Hudaydah and the humanitarian pipeline and it has worked in that respect. It has not delivered on all its ambitions. By the way the numbers of civilians dying in Hudaydah, each death being unacceptable, has gone down by seven times since 2018 to 2020 largely speaking, but there are many, many, many breaches, the governorate of Hudaydah has seen it a more quiet time since that agreement; it has not produced what we wanted I am the first to say that and we have learned lessons, but it has at least saved that humanitarian pipeline.
Saeeda: Mr. Martin, the political map in Yemen at the moment, might be other powers or players. For that reason, do you think that is going to facilitate you to discuss future issues? Or it will make things more difficult. So could you just explain the political map meaning? So the issue of the arrival up for example the STC was not in the past active and did not have any part in the negotiation that this is new and the political. We are having more players on the scenes so to speak.
Martin Griffiths: I am a big supporter of the Riyadh Agreement, I think it is a very impressive agreement, it took a lot of time to make it happen. It’s taken even longer to make it work; took a year I think from signing that agreement to produce the unity cabinet that we now see existing in Aden it is brought the STC into the government of Yemen. And I think that is a very good thing for stability and peace in Yemen and for me it helps because the STC going forward and as if now is part of the government of Yemen and part of their delegation when it is formed to negotiate an end to this conflict with Ansar Allah. So for me it is a positive it is a plus it also has helped to calm not completely but to a significant extent the situation in the south, what is now needed if for that unity government to deliver on services to the people in those areas.
Saeeda: Mr. Martin let's talk about another point some people confuse your role as a special envoy and the United Nations rolled this issue of confusion is that people are not satisfied with the work and performance of international organizations inside Yemen for accusations of corruption for lack of reach and talking about humanitarian organizations. How can you answer this question?
Martin Griffiths: As you say I have no responsibility for the United Nations humanitarian programme in Yemen that is I am only involved in the political process but let me answer the question because of course as a United Nations official I am certainly part of the answer. The humanitarian aid program in Yemen is the biggest in the world. It is also one of the most difficult. Negotiating access negotiating through both the authorities in Sana’a and the government in Aden is no easy matter as everybody in Yemen knows. I think that when there are claims of corruption or of food which has gone out of date these are always investigated and transparently by United Nations agencies. But United Nations humanitarian agencies are easy to criticize they are often doing work which very few people recognize, very few people acknowledge and they they do it in very difficult circumstances. And as we know, many of them have lost their lives as well it is a very difficult operation, I have a background myself in humanitarian work I know from personal experience how hard this is. They are doing their best, they are trying to raise money they serve the people of Yemen in a very clear way and a transparent way I believe, and they are available for any direct criticisms and comments.
Saeeda: Well, should not this be a priority? yes, I know that you are political, but you are responsible for the humanitarian issue and your job is to reduce the suffering of the people. Should not be more coordination between your office and these organizations in this regard?
Martin Griffiths: I think there is a great deal of coordination between my office and those organizations I am afraid I do not agree with you there. We have constant daily communication between us. We are part of one UN we have different responsibilities. My responsibility is not to deliver a humanitarian aid program. But it is to end the war. It is a very different one. Both are important neither one is at the expense of the other. There are different skills to be found in humanitarian aid program than to be found in mediation, I happen to be on the latter. But I do not think either is more important. We talk to each other all the time and am a great defender of the humanitarian agencies of the UN and NGOs. And whenever we brief the security council always briefing with me is Mark Lowcock who is the UN humanitarian chief. And so, we always speak together as to what is going on and we share insights. So, I do not agree that there's no coordination. There is but we have different roles different accountability and different responsibilities.
Saeeda: Another point now to get a little bit away from the special envoy's mandate but it is something also a kind of confusion at work, which is the reports of the experts that has generated lots of fuss recently, do you coordinate with the experts because the report has to do with the sanctions committee from the Security Council but do you have any kind of coordination with its committee. Do you have any joint work do you exchange information to benefit from them for them to benefit from you what is happening exactly there?
Martin Griffiths: That is a really good question and when I first thought of this particular job, three years ago in my first week, I was educated into the specific role of the panel of experts who as you were saying report to the sanctions committee of the United Nations Security Council. They are an independent body, they provide independent reports, they do independent research and they report to the security council to which I am sure they will report, for example, on the issue of the attack on Aden because now they are in Aden looking into the evidence. So they do not report to me and they are not, you know, under my wing but we do of course support them in the sense that we provide logistical support and if they ask us questions which is seldom, if they do, we give our opinion. But their value is precisely that they are independent. So, they can criticize the United Nations as easily as they can criticize anyone else. And the security council, which is above all of us, is the arbiter and is the audience for their recommendations.
Saeeda: Last year in particular you were open to the sub-groups of women and youth. But there were complaints that you have not reached all people and the voices that you reached out to are not representative of the people, and you are using just specific voices so can you please answer the question is it true that you are not listening to all voices, what is the mechanism that you use in order to select those smaller groups to talk to and to listen to their voices?
Martin Griffiths: We try to listen to as many as possible, there is no agreed representative group who represents all women in Yemen, you know, for example, or youth in Yemen, there is no representative group. I had a very good discussion about a month ago with about a dozen youth leaders from around Yemen and this was actually one of the discussions we had. I said to them how can we find out, how you or others are representative of all of Yemen or of significant parts of Yemen? It is very difficult in Yemen by the way. This is the case in every internal conflict. Civil society, precisely because it is about the whole of society, is not organized like political parties or other authorities into representative functions so often it exists because it has the freedom to speak, our job is to listen to as many as possible. And can I say that in that regard thank God, there's help that is on the way that technology can help us to listen - you would know this much better than me - to people they do not have to travel to talk to us. We can listen to them through our add: 30:41 "digital" focus groups, through technology through Whatsapp, Facebook and other instruments so we can actually reach out potentially to a much much larger segment of the Yemeni society. The reason why this is important, if I could just add, is people in Yemen, civil society in Yemen, women's groups and so on are like in any other conflict the champions of peace. They are the first people who see the costs of war and want the benefits of peace. We need those champions so this is why we reach out them, to help us persuade the parties to choose peace instead of war they are the natural allies of any one and my mission obviously exists for this purpose, who wants peace in Yemen.
Saeeda: Mr. Martin, during this interview a little previously you talked about salaries that we just discussed in passing, you say you ask the parties, and this is my question here now would the proposals for the neutralization of economy, for example is there any hope for the salaries of the people to be dispersed this is a humanitarian issue of paramount importance and I know that you believe in the talks and comprehensive solution but these issues are having very bad effect on the people
Martin Griffiths: Yes, and by asking that question, which I think is a very good question, I will try to answer in a minute, you precisely identify the dilemma. That we were just talking about where you were saying to me why you are dealing with these smaller issues these humanitarian issues when you should be dealing with the overall solution and as you say with salaries the reason is because people need to live today, and can not necessarily wait and salaries is about living today, is it not? And that is why I am constantly drawn into humanitarian issues even though my job is political. Because people need to live today. The economy of Yemen is so fragile and its fragility and the salaries issue is at the centre of that, is the reason for the threat of famine and the reason for suffering at a community and family level. We have tried very, very hard with both parties to see if there are ways to get salaries paid up front. The revenue that comes in from ports and imports and so forth needs to be put to salaries. In addition, even if that did happen, there would be more money needed for salaries, obviously in a time of war. And this is where we keep going back very frequently, and often and so do our humanitarian colleagues, to the big donors to say you need to provide aid, do it for salaries because Yemen has the capacity to deliver money to individuals and to families and it is an extraordinary asset that Yemen has that many society's don’t, you have a payroll which can reach people and want to be used by humanitarian agencies so if you put for example a hundred million dollars or on the table, for salaries to be paid across the line, never mind where people are, it would have an enormously beneficial effect. I think doing this, is as important as opening the ports as opening the airport and as bringing in a ceasefire. I think this is just as important and you can be sure that we have this in the front of my minds, it’s something that should happen soon.
Saeeda: Talking about donors. There is a note that the donor's money is hard to be accessed or reach to people of Yemen and lots of it gets lost in the process for example the money used to organize the donors conference and the way the money is sent and ran, the salaries of the members and administrators of the local and international organizations isn’t there any other mechanism to avoid this point and reach more beneficiaries because 50 or 60% are just spent on salaries, operational, and logistical costs?
Martin Griffiths: I want to challenge you on where you get the figures fifty or six percent of the money given to from the donors to agencies is spent on the agencies. I would like to see those figures. I have worked in humanitarian agencies and it is much, much less than that on the necessary cost to get the money from the donor to the family. Of course they need their cost to be covered but it is nothing like that and that kind of attack and criticism which we have heard frequently is completely unjustified, and in fact is an insult to those agencies who are doing that job, so I reject that. And indeed, the answer to that you can go any day to those at the humanitarian agencies and will give you the figures on what they spend on themselves and how much goes to the beneficiaries. Actually, what is really a particularly unusual about Yemen is that the humanitarian aid program, a lot of it, does go through cash to families. UNICEF has done a lot of that, World Bank done a lot that, much more so than in most conflicts, let me tell you. It goes straight in cash from A to B and that is smart modern humanitarian programming because you can count the dollars you can count the rials and you can go back to see whether it is indeed. As you suggest sixty percent or whether I believe it is much, much, much less. The facts are available. You can look to the agencies to give you this, it is public knowledge.
Saeeda: In fact this is a question that I am raising from the people and when they talk about the donors conference until the money comes to the people but you answer this question and this is very good if the figures are marked lower it is going to be very beautiful. I would like just to ask another question which is the regional changes that are happening at the international level as well, is the regional condition now conducive for a solution or for another crisis in Yemen?
Martin Griffiths: I put quite a lot of hope in the changes in the region and the global level for Yemen. I know that the new US administration under President Biden puts ending the conflict in Yemen as one of its international priorities. I know that because I have been speaking to them ever since they came into office two weeks ago and we have agreed with them and with the region, I’ll come to the region, that the process leading to an early ceasefire to an early opening up the country and then immediately immediately moving into the political process is something which governments around the world, the United States being very important, of course, should support. Only with government support where the United Nations be able to do its job, of course, in the region. We also see a change in the region. It is very clear to me. I spent a lot of time travelling at the region. I was in Riyadh last week I will be in Tehran a little bit later this week. There is beginning to be an understanding that a continuation of this war in Yemen is bad for the region. It is bad for stability. Of course, it is bad for the people of Yemen. And a sense of purpose to end it. I believe that the diplomacy which is about how Governments can help us persuade and support the parties to make the necessary concessions to make it work. I talk to anybody. I talked to the US administration as I said, I talk to the Iranians, I will talk to anybody who can help to end the conflict. And Yemen has one piece of good fortune when compared to other conflicts. There is a united Security Council there is now beginning to be united, regional and global view that this conflict in Yemen has to stop, needs to end and needs to end in the right way leading to prosperity and rights of people. So where I put some hope at the moment is that we can advise these governments as to where they can best help and how they can best engage with the parties to get this thing moving.
Saaeda: Lots of Yemenis and non-Yemenis as well, are saying that what happens is that power states are dealing with their authority as if they were police in order to gain their own attitudes, etc, to what extent is the security council, so United in its position towards Yemen?
Martin Griffiths: It has been united on Yemen certainly in the years that I have been doing this, which is since 2018. It is different from Syria where it is not united, as you know and Libya where it is not united. There are certainly differences of opinion as to how we should end the conflict in Yemen and restore government in Yemen. There are some differences of opinion, but there is unity on the central message which is this that there is only a political solution, there is no military solution to the war in Yemen and that that political solution will only come through an inclusive process for all people in Yemen and that Yemen should be free of foreign interference. The United Nations' charter believes in the same values, so we do have that asset. We have a security council which wants to help, and this is something which is, as I say, very rare in these times and we need to preserve it but we also now need to make it work for our benefit.
Saeeda: Mr. Martin, in the latest in meeting that was in Stockholm in 2018 until this moment the parties have not met. Is there any plan for them to meet to make some kind of convergence or very soon or in a specific date it was too long from Stockholm this moment.
Martin Griffiths: It is far too long from Stockholm to this moment, I completely agree. It is a shame that they have not sat together apart from on prisoners, but they have not sat together to deal with the big questions and there's always one or other party that says “no we’re not ready” or “we are not sure that it is worth it because the other party is not being serious”, or whatever. There is always a reason. My view as a mediator and from experience in other conflicts is that it is an obligation. It is an obligation of the parties to sit together that is what is asked that they can agree or not that is up to them based on their own ideas of their interests, but not to sit together there I am afraid is not acceptable. And they need to do so. My current immediate today priority is to get the two parties to sit down together to agree on three simple things: the ceasefire, opening of the airport, opening the ports, and the fourth and it goes back to your question on salaries, help the economy of Yemen to deliver on its basic basic priorities which is salaries and services for Yemen. If we can agree those three things and we have negotiated them all through last year by the way, so we had detailed discussions on them, we can agree on that it gives the people of Yemen chance to breathe and it leads to the political process which should start immediately thereafter. That is what I am working on at the moment.
Saeeda: Opening the airports and the ports, what about the land roads.
Martin Griffiths: Yes, we need to. Part of our proposals in the joint declaration was to open the roads. It is essential. I mean roads, obviously are the way which families link to markets and schools and employment, and life, of course the roads too between Aden and Sanaa to Taiz, and so forth, this is a priority, as is salaries.
Saeeda: We are, unfortunately, almost finished with this interview and I am sorry for that, but this is the type of interviews. The question is that you are talking about the long period of time that happened between Stockholm and between now. What is the plan for the Special Envoy when he is when when those people did not meet? If they say we will not meet, are you going to resign? are you going to ask for more, for expanding mandate from the United Nations? are you going to be more strict on the two parties on the party that is making those obstacles? What is the second step of action?
Martin: What I do when the parties disagree with what I am proposing, like for example, to meet face-to-face. I keep trying to persuade them. It is up to them to decide it is not up to me. It is their prerogative. I keep asking other governments to help me persuade them. I would like to see the champions of peace which is the people of Yemen speaking out to persuade them. I do not think resigning is gonna help, but I think keeping going and providing the opportunity for them to do the right thing is exactly what a mediator does.
Saeeda: Mr. Martin are there negotiations under the table as the rumours say or is it just a frustration that you talked about would say that there is nothing like this under the table?
Martin Griffiths: We are at the moment discussing with the parties and with key governments how we can fast track an approach to those issues that I describe to you just now, those gateway issues: the ceasefire, the ports the airport, salaries and the economy. We are discussing how to make it quick, how to get that quickly with the different regional, and international geopolitics, how to help us, how to help the parties get there, yes indeed I would not be do my job at all if I was not always trying to push further forward the prospect of peace in Yemen. If I stop doing that, then you can be sure I will resign but not before.
Saeeda: Now one last thing for message for the Yemenis who have lots of hopes and sometimes Yemenis are exaggerating in having those hopes as you say, because maybe they do not understand the role of the Special Envoy or his job. Maybe they have these hopes that they expect something beautiful from special envoy to Yemen what is your message to them today? I am talking about the Yemeni citizens here.
Martin Griffiths: I am not blind to the terrible suffering of the people of Yemen to the appalling situation for years in Taiz, which embarrasses and shames us all to the lines waiting in Sanaa for the oil that has not entered into that country. I am not blind to that, and that is what drives us to do our best to end this conflict as soon as possible it has been ten years since the Arab Spring raised hope throughout the region but also in Yemen. Yemen could be a place of kindness of unity of community, and of humanity that is the aspiration that drives the United Nations role here in ending the conflict. It is not simply to end the war, but it is to build the peace that creates the unity and passion that has driven Yemen's history and that has seen so daily in the way in which Yemenis live and deal with each other. We need Yemen back to where it was before, and we need it better than it was before and we will get there, have no doubt, we will get there, we need to end the suffering of the Yemeni people.