UN envoy arrives in Aden a week after deadly airport blast

CAIRO (AP) – The United Nations (UN) special envoy for Yemen on Thursday toured the damage from a recent airport missile attack that killed at least 25 people and wounded 110 others.

Envoy Martin Griffiths held talks with Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed, Minister of Foreign and Expatriate Affairs Ahmed bin Mubarak and other members of Yemen’s newly-formed Cabinet. Griffiths reiterated his condemnation of last week’s attack in Aden and expressed condolences to the families of the victims.

“The attack on the Cabinet in Aden was devastating, not only due to the tragically heavy civilian toll, but also because it has political implications that could stir deep distrust,” Griffiths said in a statement released after his visit. “I discussed the prospects of the political process with the government and I stressed that I remain committed to support Yemen to end this conflict comprehensively and sustainably through a negotiated political settlement.”

On December 30, a deadly blast shook Aden airport moments after a plane carrying members of Yemen’s Cabinet arrived on a flight from the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh. No one has claimed responsibility. But the Yemeni government promptly accused Houthi rebels of being behind the airport attack and a a drone assault on the Mashiq Palace in Aden shortly after the Prime Minister and his Cabinet were transferred there. Saeed said the deadly blast was carried out by three precision-guided missiles.

Houthi officials have denied being behind the attack and have sought to blame unspecified groups. The rebel leaders have not offered any evidence or answered requests for comment.

Martin Griffiths at the Aden Airport in southern Yemen. PHOTO: AFP