Martin Griffiths is set to meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and other officials during his two-day visit, his office said. The sessions are part of a broader effort to negotiate a political solution to the nearly six-year conflict, AP wrote.
Griffiths’ spokeswoman Ismini Palla said the visit had been planned for some time, adding it comes at a time when he is trying to bring together more diplomatic, regional and international support to his efforts to end the war.
“Griffiths will consult with Iranian officials on ways to alleviate sufferings of the Yemeni people,” IRNA reported.
A Saudi-led coalition launched an air campaign against Yemen in 2015, in support of a former government and in an effort to topple the Ansarullah movement that took control of much of Yemen including the capital Sana’a.
The trip comes just days after US President Joe Biden announced that Washington will end its support, including some arms sales, of the Saudi-led coalition’s war. The long-awaited move refocused a spotlight on the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and was welcomed by Yemenis and aid groups that hope the policy change might add to momentum for peace talks.
On Saturday, Iran welcomed Biden’s move on Thursday as a “step toward correcting past mistakes”, Reuters wrote.
Reversing one of former president Donald Trump’s most criticized last-minute decisions, Washington also said on Friday it intended to revoke a terrorist designation for the Houthi Ansarullah movement in response to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where the United Nations says some 80% of the population is in need.
Griffiths’ “immediate priority” in Tehran is to push a nationwide cease-fire, urgent humanitarian measures and the resumption of the political process, his office added. Those goals repeatedly have proved elusive over years of ruinous war that have left the country deeply divided. The visit was planned long before Biden’s announcement, Palla said.
The war has killed some 130,000 people, including over 13,000 civilians slain in targeted attacks, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Project, and pushed millions to the brink of famine.