Saudi Arabia and France clashed on Tuesday, in media regarding Yemen for the first time, which indicates new differences between EU and Saudi Arabia, where Hans Grodenberg, the former ambassador of the European Union, started his duties as an envoy to Yemen, amid Saudi attempts to adapt him to its agenda.
The French Ambassador to Yemen, Jean-Marie Safa, said in a press statement that UN peace initiative in Yemen still on the table, noting that the new envoy will resume its completion, referring to proposals made by former envoy Martin Griffiths, it was known as the “Joint Declaration”, and Saudi Arabia had previously rejected it.
Ambassador Safa’s statements are contradictory to his statements made last May during the conflict over the position of international envoy between the European Union, Britain and Russia, in which he affirmed his country’s support for the Saudi initiative to a solution in Yemen.
Safa’s statements come on the eve of Saudi Arabia’s wave through the Gulf Cooperation Council to suspend international missions in Yemen, in reference to its attempt to pressure on the new envoy to pass its agenda.
The Secretary-General of GCC, Naef Al-Hajraf, said during his first contact with the new envoy to Yemen, Hans Grodenberg, on the necessity for any solution in Yemen to come from the Saudi gate and through its initiative. He affirmed his country’s adherence to the three references that were dropped in the previous UN envoy’s proposals as one of the obstacles to a political solution in Yemen.
These developments indicate that France, the largest European arms exporter to Saudi Arabia, is on its way to clash with Saudi Arabia due to its prioritizing the interests of the European Union, which is the most prominent country in arms deals, under which it sold the French position to Saudi Arabia since the start of the war on Yemen in March of 2015.