Houthis must commit to UN brokered truce، end Taiz besiege
War-scarred Yemen’s internationally recognized government accused the Iran-aligned Houthi movement on Monday of failing to reopen roads to the besieged city of Taiz، a key element of a truce agreed between them.
Yemen’s warring parties، who have traded accusations of non-compliance with the two-month UN-brokered truce، agreed last week to renew it for a further two months.
They are under international pressure to agree on extended and expanded deal that would build on the longest stretch of relative calm in over seven years of conflict.
Foreign Minister Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak his Aden-based، Arab-backed government supported any move to expand the truce to a lasting peace.
Yemen has been mired in a war since the Houthi militia overran much of the country militarily and seized all northern provinces، including the capital Sanaa، in 2014.
Saudi Arabia has been leading a military Arab coalition that intervened in Yemen in 2015 to support the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after the Houthis forced him into exile.
Saudi kingdom welcomes Yemen truce extension
Parties in Yemen have agreed to extend the current truce for two additional months until Oct. 2 while also committing to engage in intensive talks aimed at a larger truce agreement، the UN said on Monday.
The UN special envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg expressed his gratitude for the support from Saudi Arabia، Oman، and the UN Security Council.
In a statement Saudi Arabia’s ministry of foreign affairs expressed the Kingdom’s support for Grundberg’s efforts in promoting peace and stability in Yemen.
The ministry emphasized what it called Saudi’s firm position and support for initiatives that would guarantee “security and stability in the Republic of Yemen” in order to reach a comprehensive political solution.
“The truce is in line with the Kingdom’s initiative to end the crisis in Yemen and reach a comprehensive political solution، which was announced in March 2021،” the statement said.
“The goal of the truce is to reach a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire in Yemen to start the political process between the Yemeni government and the Houthis،” the ministry added in its statement.
It also highlighted that “Houthis in Yemen must abide by the truce’s guidelines by opening humanitarian corridors in Taiz to ease human suffering and deposit revenue in Yemen’s Central Bank so civilians can receive salaries.”
Gundberg also thanked the leadership of the Yemeni parties for agreeing to extend the truce and “their continued constructive engagements.”
In a statement، he said the truce extension provided an opportunity to pivot toward long-lasting، sustainable peace with a nationwide ceasefire، adding that both parties had given him “substantive comments” on a proposal he had drafted for an expanded truce agreement.
“The expanded truce proposal would provide for reaching an agreement on a transparent and effective disbursement mechanism for the regular payment of civil servant salaries and civilian pensions، the opening of roads in Taiz and other governorates، opening additional destinations to and from Sana’a International Airport، and providing fuel and its regular flow of fuel to the ports of Hodeidah،” said the UN special envoy for Yemen.
“An expanded agreement would also provide an opportunity to negotiate a nationwide ceasefire، humanitarian and economic issues، and to prepare for the resumption of the Yemeni-led political process under UN auspices to reach a sustainable and just peace.”
It is the second renewal of the UN-brokered two-month truce، which came into effect on April 2 and was renewed for the first time in June.
The truce has been hailed for the subsequent drastic reduction in hostilities and civilian casualties، along with the resumption of commercial flights from Sanaa airport.
However، the Iran-backed Houthis continue to reject a UN proposal to reopen the roads around Taiz governorate، which has been under siege for over seven years.
Grundberg said: “The main objective of the current truce continues to be to provide tangible relief to civilians and create a conducive environment for reaching a peaceful settlement to the conflict through a comprehensive political process.
“It is also important to make progress on opening roads in Taiz and other governorates to facilitate the freedom of movement of millions of Yemeni women، men and children، and goods. The people of Taiz and across Yemen deserve for the truce to deliver for them in all its aspects.”
He called on all parties to meet their commitments and implement the truce in its entirety and put Yemen back on a peaceful path.
“The Yemeni people deserve no less،” Grundberg said.