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Hans Grundberg to assume role of UN Special Envoy to Yemen

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Hans Grundberg to assume role of UN Special Envoy to Yemen

Haitham Al Akhali UNHCR
Photo UNHCR/Haitham Al-Akhali

Hans Grundberg will today assume the role of UN Special Envoy to Yemen.

Grundberg is succeeding Martin Griffiths, and will attempt to bring a conclusion to the Yemeni civil war.

The UN seeks a political solution in Yemen, pushing for a negotiated peace between the Hafiz Yemen government, Saudi and the Houthis. Despite their best intentions, the on-the-ground situation—complicated by the inclusion of hybrid non-state actors—has changed rapidly, with all parties unable to come to a mutual resolution.

The Houthis’ goal is to have complete control over Yemen, and to expel Saudi and Hafiz influence from their borders; a position which is irreconcilable with Saudi and the Hafiz government.

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Despite Grundberg’s depth of experience in conflict resolution, he is unlikely to affect much change in the situation. The UN has no political leverage over the Houthis, which means that negotiations are unlikely to move forward. Violence and instability in Yemen will likely continue until the opposing parties are able to set negotiable and realistic expectations for a political outcome. Long-term, wartime loss of blood and treasure and the dire in-country humanitarian crisis is likely to force a re-evaluation from both sides, which may lead to a political solution.

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