Conflicts & War

Parties to Yemen conflict agree to 2-month truce

Sanaa, Apr 1 (EFE).- The governments and factions involved in the conflict that has made Yemen the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis have agreed to a two-month truce, the United Nations official trying to end the war said Friday.

“The parties to the conflict have responded positively to a United Nations proposal for a two-month Truce which comes into effect tomorrow 2 April at 1900hrs.,” special envoy Hans Grundberg said in a statement.

Saturday marks the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Significantly, the truce applies to “all offensive military air, ground and maritime operations inside Yemen and across its borders,” the Swedish diplomat said.

Last week, Yemeni Houthi rebels launched the latest in a round of missile and drone strikes on targets in Saudi Arabia, the leader of the coalition that has been bombing and blockading Yemen for seven years in a bid to reinstate the government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi.

The coalition will allow ships carrying fuel to enter the Houthi-controlled Yemeni port of Hudaydah and a partial resumption of commercial flights in and out of the international airport in Sanaa, which is likewise in rebel territory.

The Houthis agreed to discussions mediated by Grundberg on permitting road traffic in and out of the Taiz region, where Hadi loyalists are in power.

The announcement of the truce coincided with an intra-Yemeni dialogue – the Houthis declined an invitation – taking place in Riyadh under the auspices of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Word of the extended suspension of hostilities followed shorter unilateral cease-fires declared by the Houthis and the Saudis.

And while the belligerents have traditionally reduced if not halted military operations during Ramadan, this is the first time that they have agreed on a formal truce for the most sacred month on the Muslim calendar.

Houthi rebels rose up in late 2014 against Hadi, who ran opposed in 2012 in an election boycotted by the Houthis and by secessionists in the southern part of the country, which existed as an independent state from 1967-1990.

In March 2015, the Saudi-led coalition intervened in a bid to restore Hadi to power and the ensuing war has claimed more than 370,000 lives, according to the UN, which says that 80 percent of Yemen’s 29 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.

“This Truce is a first and long overdue step. All Yemeni women, men and children that have suffered immensely through over seven years of war expect nothing less than an end to this war. The parties must deliver nothing less,” Grundberg said. EFE


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