Saturday, November 26, 2016

On Yemen, ICP Asks UN If Its Envoy Even Met Hadi, No He Did Not

By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow Up to Exclusives

UNITED NATIONS,  November 16 -- The Saudi led coalition bombed the funeral of the father of Yemen interior minister Jalal al-Roweishan in Sana'a on October 8, the same day the UN Security Council met about airstrikes in Syria. 
Inner City Press asked Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the UN Abdallah Yahya A. Al-Mouallimi to confirm it was an Saudi strike and explain it. He said, "I am not aware of it." Vine video here.
Inner City Press asked him more questions on November 3, video here. He said investigations are proceeding, and money being offered.
On November 16, Inner City Press again asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson about the failures of Ban's or Saudi Arabia's envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed. From the UN's November 16 transcript:
Inner City Press: on what Secretary [John] Kerry announced yesterday as a ceasefire agreed to by the Houthis, and it's since been said that the GPC (General People’s Congress)/Saleh side also agrees to it and the roadmap, I'm… I wanted to ask you again, because yesterday, and I guess… I think it happened later in the day than the briefing here, at the State Department briefing, the… the briefer, Ms. [Elizabeth] Trudeau, was asked repeatedly why… what was the [Abd Rabbuh Mansur] Hadi position?  And she said… this is a direct quote… she said, "As to the conversations with the Yemeni Government, we believe that's the role of the UN Special Envoy, and we direct you there."  So I'm wondering, can you state what has been the status of… of Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed's discussions with the Hadi Government and with Mr. Hadi, in particular?  And what is their position on a ceasefire that John Kerry's announced and that two parties have said that they will… would… would or will respect as early as Thursday?
Deputy Spokesman:  Well, at this stage, like I say… like I told you yesterday, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed has been travelling throughout the region.  I believe, in more recent days, he's been in Amman, Jordan.  But before that, he had been in Sana'a and in Riyadh, talking with the different parties.  There are assurances on different sides.  I don't want to characterise at this point the position of the Hadi Government.  That's really for them to describe.  But he has had good discussions with Saudi officials and others.  We've been in touch with people throughout the region.  We'll have to see whether a cessation of hostilities takes hold tomorrow, but we've been very encouraged, including by Secretary of State John Kerry's efforts.  And what we'll do is see what happens tomorrow and react accordingly.  But there have been some good signals on… by various sides.
ICP Question:  Was the envoy able to meet with President Hadi when he was in Riyadh?  Because I've heard that he wasn't and he was snubbed.  And can you just… did he meet or not?  If he met, great.  If he didn't, say it.
Deputy Spokesman:  No, I wouldn't call it a snub, but, no, they did not meet.
On November 10, having been informed by sources that Hadi and his team rebuffed the “UN” envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed and his or John Kerry's roadmap, Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft about it. Rycroft said all sides should engage, including explaining what they don't like about the roadmap. Video here.  From the UK transcript: 
Inner City Press: On Yemen, the reports that President Hadi declined to meet with the Envoy – is that your understanding? And where do you think things stand on this Roadmap?

Amb Rycroft: Well where things stand is that I think that the whole of the Security Council supports the Roadmap. We have a draft resolution, as you know, that is sort of in the works that are out there that would offer that full support in terms of a textual resolution. We are, all of us, providing our full support to the Special Envoy. We are encouraging him to engage with all the parties. It’s not just Hadi, but some of the others too have their concerns with aspects of the Roadmap. No one is going to be completely happy with every part of it, but it is a sensible, balanced, thought through, careful proposal and we encourage all the parties to engage on it. And if they don’t like it to tell us why, and to negotiate from that as a starting point. 
  Meanwhile Inner City Press hears of protests directed at the UN in Sana'a for UN support of the blockade of Yemen by the Saudi-led Coalition. 
Exclusively, Inner City Press is informed that despite Bna Ki-moon's teams constant refrain that his decision to remove the Saudi-led Coalition from the UN's Children and Armed Conflict annex for Yemen, this will not happen during Ban's remaining 50 days as Secretary General. The report is finished, Inner City Press is told, if it is reopened now it would be an even worse precedent, allowing others to lobby to get off the list at any time. The decision will await March, and Ban's successor.
  So Ban Ki-moon's sell-out of Yemen and its children is complete, it is concluded.
On November 7 Inner City Press exclusively reported that not only is “UN” envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed's roadmap dictated by outgoing US Secretary of State John Kerry, but that there are complaints among IOCA's team, about no-show employees parked in Sweden and his deputy “Gluck” whom no one wants to work with.
   More troubling from a US perspective is that Inner City Press is told about pressure brought to bear on Saleh, making his support Kerry's roadmap in order to “free” his son / once successor, under essential house arrest in the UAE. Is this the way US foreign policy is supposed to function?
   Can Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed even meet with Hadi? We'll see - watch this site.
After Saudi Arabia was re-elected to the UN Human Rights Council on October 28, with the votes of 152 of the 193 member states, the Saudi-led Coalition's bombing of Yemen picked up pace, including killing detainees in Al Hudaydah.
On November 3 Abdallah Yahya A. Al-Mouallimi told Inner City Press this was an entirely military target. Detainees? Video here.
Much has been said about the Yemen draft resolution being worked on by the penholder the UK, without circulation to the 15 Security Council members. On November 1 UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told the Press about the draft; at 5 pm Council president for November Fode Seck of Senegal also referred to it. 
A draft was obtained by Inner City Press and was exclusively published on November 1, see below: it does not condemn the airstrikes but demands a cessation of hostilities, and for the envoy to report back in 15 days. AP gave credit to Inner City Press on November 2.
Now Inner City Press can exclusively report that “UN” envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed's roadmap is in fact a product of the US State Department, and that IOCA only belatedly presented it to a lower level administrator in the Yemeni / Hadi foreign minister. The envoy has been criticized and, we're told, is about to be cut off by the Houthi side. And while Saudi Arabia's Ambassador answered Inner City Press diplomatically on November, it seems the Saudis are no fans of this roadmap either. “It was all about Kerry's legacy,” as one source put it to Inner City Press.