Hans Grundberg who assumed his position on Sunday as the new UN Yemen envoy, pledged to exert his “utmost efforts” to convince warring factions to sign a lasting and comprehensive peace settlement aimed at ending the country’s civil war.
In his first speech to Yemenis after assuming his position on Sunday, Grundberg said that he was aware of the complications and challenges facing his mission, but assured his audience that he would do his best to work on ending the war.
“I can assure you that I will do everything in my power to contribute to achieving lasting and just peace in Yemen. My office and I will always be available to listen to your priorities and be guided by your aspirations,” he said.
Grundberg urged warring parties in Yemen and regional and international interlocutors to help him achieve his goal.
“We will be relentless in the pursuit of peace. We will also remind all involved of their shared responsibility for Yemen’s future. As the UN special envoy for Yemen, I look forward to straight, inclusive and — above all — serious interactions with Yemeni, regional and international interlocutors,” he said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in August named the Swedish diplomat as the new envoy.
Succeeding British diplomat Martin Griffiths, Grundberg worked as EU ambassador to Yemen for two years and has more than 20 years’ experience in international affairs.
His three predecessors failed to mediate a peace deal to end the war since late 2014, when the Houthi militia seized power in Yemen. Grundberg might make a key breakthrough toward ending the war given his more than 15 years’ experience in dealing with conflicts in the Middle East, UN officials said.
UN Yemen envoy spokeswoman Ismini Palla told Arab News on Sunday that Grundberg would brief the UN Security Council in New York City on Friday.
“The special envoy is scheduled to deliver his first briefing to the Security Council in person in New York on Sept. 10. Grundberg’s first briefing will focus on developments in Yemen and the principles that will guide his work,” she said.
On social media, Yemenis have reacted to his message positively, wishing him success in his mission, but demanding that he “learns from the mistakes of his predecessors.”
Mohammed Gezan, deputy minister of information, said on Twitter: “We wish you good luck and success. We hope that you learn from the mistakes of your predecessors and do not repeat them.”
Another Yemeni Twitter user said: “We wish him success in his difficult task, and advise him not to waste more time and resources on useless conversations and consultations, and to put forward a formula acceptable to everyone to stop the war.”
Diplomatic efforts to end the war have resumed after a brief lull before the appointment of Grundberg.
Last week, US Yemen envoy Tim Lenderking discussed coordinating international efforts to support the UN-brokered peace plan with Ann Linde, Sweden’s foreign minister.
Yemeni Foreign Minister Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak has also embarked on a new diplomatic tour to the EU, where he will explain to his European counterparts his government’s position on the peace initiative and the role of Houthi military operations in exacerbating the humanitarian crisis.