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Yemen's new road to peace
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 25 - 04 - 2019

Yemeni media sources have revealed that UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths has proposed a new political roadmap to resolve the country's ongoing national crisis. A high-level government official told Aden 24 Monday that Yemen was witnessing fast-paced, important developments as part of a new strategy to include all the warring parties and salvage peace.
The official added that Griffiths has been engaged in dialogue with the legitimate government, the Southern Transitional Council, the General People's Congress and the Houthis to cease military operations and discuss the political solutions available, especially federalisation of Yemen.
Griffiths' roadmap and his proposal of a federal republic of Yemen, reconsidering the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference and dividing Yemen into six regions, garnered regional and international approval. The UN special envoy said the plan would face difficulties during implementation on the ground, which obliged the international community to modify the roadmap, reduce the number of regions and slightly alter the arrangement of governorates.
The official told Aden 24 that Griffiths' newest proposal divides Yemen into three regions. The southern region will include Hadramawt and Aden, with the latter the designated capital. The Saba region will include Janad, with Taiz as its capital. The Azal province will include Tohama, with Sanaa as the capital.
Griffiths told the UN Security Council that the second phase of negotiations on Yemen will seek to establish a national unity government and an authority to oversee demilitarisation. He added that trust was nearly absent between the Houthis and the legitimate government.
Meanwhile, Yemenis are dying of illness and lack of medication. Gravely ill Yemenis who applied for passports have been waiting for months on end, hoping to be treated abroad. Al-Ahram Weekly sources revealed that passports are issued based on bribes, while Yemenis are left to die or face amputations.
In Yemen's political circle, parliament convened in Seyoun city 13 April, with the attendance of 145 parliamentary members, its first session since civil war broke out in 2015. On 15 April, parliament speaker Sultan Al-Burkani announced parliament would convene regularly.
The session also saw the announcement of the Yemeni Political Forces Alliance, signed by 17 political parties, to support the legitimacy of the government and regain the state from the grip of the Houthis, reported Saba News Agency.
The Epidemiological Surveillance Centre, meanwhile, revealed that Sanaa was the city hardest hit with cholera and that 48 people died of the epidemic last week. Statistics show that since January, 470 Yemenis died of cholera with 224,000 suspected cases.
Since the outbreak, cholera has ended the lives of 3,000 Yemenis while 1.7 million people became sick with the epidemic.
Cholera spread primarily because of poor healthcare infrastructure and the collapse of the sewage network because of the ongoing war.
The humanitarian catastrophe is exacerbated under Houthi rule amid an economic crunch and workers not receiving wages while the prices of food and fuel rise to exorbitant levels.
“An estimated 80 per cent of the population — 24 million people — require some form of humanitarian or protection assistance, including 14.3 million who are in acute need. Severity of needs is deepening, with the number of people in acute need a staggering 27 per cent higher than last year. Two-thirds of all districts in the country are already pre-famine, and one-third face a convergence of multiple acute vulnerabilities. The escalation of the conflict since March 2015 has dramatically aggravated the protection crisis in which millions face risks to their safety and basic rights,” stated the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in its 2019 report.
It added: “An estimated 7.4 million people require services to treat or prevent malnutrition, including 3.2 million people who require treatment for acute malnutrition — two million children under five and more than one million pregnant and lactating women. A total of 17.8 million people lack access to safe water and sanitation, and 19.7 million people lack access to adequate healthcare.”
Because salaries have not been paid for the past three years, many Yemeni resorted to working as street vendors. Mareb Press published an article titled “Houthi war against merchants and street vendors,” reporting that, “Houthi militias tightened the noose on store owners and street vendors in Sanaa to extort them into paying money to the militias. They also arrest them and confiscate their humble, basic tools that are their only way to make a living.”
On Monday, Aden Al-Ghad reported a glimpse of good news that the UAE will help restore electricity services in Aden. The UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem Al-Hashimi said the UAE and Saudi Arabia had helped Yemen with aid worth $19 billion.
Saudi Arabia has also started a project to support the education sector in Yemen
The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief), in cooperation with coalition forces and the Saudi Ministry of Education, launched Monday the “Together for Education in Yemen” programme, to support the education sector.
Abdullah Al-Rabea, adviser at the royal court and supervisor-general of KSrelief, said: “Under this programme several educational initiatives and projects are to be implemented to support the educational process in Yemen… The programme includes the provision of more than 50,000 desks and chairs that will serve students in 14 governorates, including Abyan, Bayda, Hudaydah, Mahrha, Aden, Mukalla of Hadramawt, Seyoun of Hadramawt, Shabwah, Lahij, Marib, Socotra, Dhale, Jawf and Taiz.”
He added: “Affirming the kingdom's pioneering role in supporting Yemen and its people, several humanitarian, relief and development projects were implemented as well as supporting the economy in Yemen with a total cost of $11.88 billion. KSrelief has also implemented 330 projects in all regions of Yemen at a total cost of more than $2 billion. In addition, education in Yemen received great attention from KSrelief, where many projects have already been implemented, with an amount of more than $65.2 million.”


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