The UN Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, who has served as the main UN negotiator for peace in Yemen is set to leave his post after serving for more than three years. He is due to take more senior responsibilities as a UN undersecretary-general for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The news came via diplomats speaking on condition of anonymity as the selection process has been private. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was expected to announce the appointment of Griffiths in the coming days according to the Associated Press.
The 69-year-old British diplomat has worked to bring Yemen closer to a peace deal but only came close to achieving agreements on partial issues such as the Stockholm agreement. Despite his international efforts, Griffiths said that the UN is not where it would like to be in the efforts to reach a deal to end the war in Yemen.
The Houthi movement had recently refused to meet with Griffiths, citing their lack of faith in the peace process. The Yemeni government and the US State Department blamed the Houthi rebels for skipping the opportunity for talks with Griffiths to discuss a possible resolution to the conflict in Yemen.
Griffiths’ new position will be based in New York from where he will also engage with the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen. It is not yet clear who will assume the responsibilities of Griffiths as Special Envoy for Yemen after his departure.
The appointment of the new UN Humanitarian Chief came with some controversy. Several news outlets criticised the British monopoly over senior positions in the UN. Griffiths will be the fifth consecutive Briton to be the UN humanitarian chief since 2007. It is believed that the allocation of senior posts is part of an unofficial division of top UN posts among the five permanent Security Council nations.