UN has ‘positive indications’ to extend truce in Yemen
UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The United Nations said on the eve of the expiration Thursday of a two-month truce in Yemen that it had received “positive preliminary indications” from the warring parties on the extension of the cessation of nationwide hostilities.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Wednesday that Hans Grundberg, the UN envoy for Yemen, “is involved in intense work to ensure the renewal of the truce”.
Yemen’s internationally recognized government and Iran-backed Houthi rebels agreed to the UN-brokered two-month truce at the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on April 2. the poorest country in the Arab world.
On a positive note, Dujarric hosted the first commercial flight from the Houthi-controlled capital, Sanaa, to Cairo earlier on Wednesday. This follows the resumption last month of flights from Sanaa to the Jordanian capital, Amman.
The Sanaa-Cairo flight was the seventh from the capital, and Dujarric said a total of 2,495 Yemenis have traveled between Sanaa, Amman and Cairo so far.
The reopening of Sanaa airport to commercial flights was part of the two-month truce agreement.
But the UN said on Saturday that the warring parties failed to agree on another provision of the deal during three days of talks in Amman – the lifting of the Houthi blockade of the third-largest city. of the country, Taiz.
The question of the blocked city is essential to extend the ceasefire nationwide.
Grundberg said in a statement on Saturday that a proposal had been floated in what he described as “a first round of talks” for a gradual reopening of roads in Taiz and elsewhere, which would help facilitate aid deliveries. and the movement of suffering Yemenis.
He urged the government and the Houthis to conclude internal deliberations and deliver “positive results to the Yemeni people” in the ongoing talks in Amman.
Dujarric said Wednesday that Grundberg was making “intense” efforts for a renewal of the truce. “We have received positive preliminary indications from the parties at this stage,” he said.
Yemen has been embroiled in civil war since 2014, when the Houthis took Sanaa and much of the north of the country, forcing the government to flee south and then to Saudi Arabia. A Saudi-led coalition, including the United Arab Emirates and backed at the time by the United States, went to war months later, seeking to restore the government to power.
The conflict has created one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises while becoming a regional proxy war in recent years. More than 150,000 people were killed, including more than 14,500 civilians.
Two weeks ago, Grundberg said that since the truce began, “the fighting has dropped sharply with no air attacks emanating from Yemen across its borders and no confirmed airstrikes inside Yemen.”
Dujarric said humanitarian needs in Yemen remain high despite improvements since the truce, with some 19 million people expected to face hunger this year, including more than 160,000 who will face near-famine conditions.
“Aid agencies need $4.28 billion to help 17.3 million people across the country this year,” but only 26% of that amount has been funded, he said, urging donors to pledge money and turn pledges into cash.