The parties to the conflict in Yemen have agreed to extend the truce, which expires on Tuesday, by two months, announced the UN special envoy, Hans Grundberg. Negotiations will be intensified “in order to reach a prolonged truce as soon as possible”.
Despite international pressure for a longer truce to take advantage of the longest period of relative calm in the country in more than seven years, the status quo was demanded. The United Nations (UN) announced on Tuesday, August 2, the extension in extremis for “two additional months” of the truce in force in Yemen.
On April 2, a two-month truce was observed in Yemen, then extended for the same period on June 2, giving Yemenis a rare respite. As in June, the announcement of the renewal of the truce was made on the same day it was supposed to end.
“I am pleased to announce that the parties (stakeholders in the conflict in Yemen) have agreed to extend the truce, under the same conditions, for two additional months, from August 2, 2022 to October 2, 2022,” the statement said. UN envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg.
This ceasefire “includes a commitment by the parties to intensify negotiations to reach a broad truce agreement as soon as possible,” he said in a statement. According to him, negotiations are underway via the UN “in order to consolidate the opportunity offered by the truce to move towards a lasting peace”.
“The main objective of the current truce remains to provide tangible relief to civilians and to create an environment conducive to a peaceful resolution of the conflict through a comprehensive political process,” said Hans Grundberg.
Faced with one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, the poorest country on the Arabian Peninsula is devastated by the conflict between government forces, backed by a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia since 2015, and Houthi rebels. backed by Iran, Riyadh’s rival in the region.
Sporadic violations of the ceasefire
US President Joe Biden hailed the renewal of the truce and “the period of unprecedented calm” in Yemen, according to a statement from the White House.
The European Union did the same, calling on the protagonists to continue to respect the truce and to work for a relaunch of peace negotiations under the aegis of the UN in order to reach a settlement of the conflict.
On Monday, several local and international humanitarian organizations working in Yemen called for the truce to be renewed for a longer period of “six months or more”. According to them, the ceasefire has made it possible in four months to “considerably” reduce the number of civilian victims and to facilitate the transport of fuel, which has led to the “proper functioning of public services”.
The truce has been relatively respected on the ground despite sporadic violations according to these NGOs, which include Action Against Hunger, Handicap International, Médecins du Monde, Oxfam and Save the Children.
The belligerents had repeatedly accused each other of violations. On Tuesday, the UN envoy promised to intensify his efforts “to ensure the full implementation of all the parties’ obligations in the truce”.
These obligations include the thorny issue of the payment of civil servants’ salaries, the opening of blocked roads as in the city besieged by the rebels of Taiz, an expansion of flights to and from Sanaa airport (north), formerly closed to civilian traffic, as well as a more regular transport of fuel to the ports of Hodeïda (west).
The announcement of the extension of the truce comes at a time when Yemen is facing a drop in humanitarian aid. In late June, the UN’s World Food Program announced further cuts to its aid due to chronic funding shortfalls, inflation, and the fallout from the conflict in Ukraine.
With AFP and Reuters
Source: France 24