Sana’a, Jun 2 (EFE).- The warring sides in Yemen’s conflict have agreed to extend a truce that was due to expire on Thursday for two more months, the United Nations special envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg reported.
“The parties to the conflict have agreed to the United Nations’ proposal to renew the current truce in Yemen for two additional months,” Grundberg said.
“The truce is extended under the same terms as the original agreement,” he added.
The parties to the conflict had been in recent days negotiating an extension to the truce, which was described by the UN as “successful” and offered a relief the Yemeni people desperately needed after seven years of war.
The UN-brokered nationwide ceasefire that went into effect on April 2 after the Yemeni government and the Saudi-led coalition reached an agreement with their rival, the Houthis, “represents a significant shift in the trajectory of the war,” according to Grundberg.
“For the past two months, Yemenis have experienced the tangible benefits of the truce.
“Civilian casualties have dropped significantly, fuel deliveries through Hodeidah port have increased considerably, and commercial flights resumed to and from Sana’a International Airport after almost six years of closure.”
The Yemeni government and the Houthi rebels have repeatedly accused each other of violating the truce, either by advances on the frontlines or by airstrikes and attacks.
Some 30 international NGOs urged the warring sides to do whatever it takes to extend the truce, stressing that the number of the dead and wounded was reduced by more than 50% during the first month only in a conflict that left over 150,000 fatalities so far.
The rebels’ blockade of several government-controlled provinces, particularly Taiz, remained the main obstacle to the negotiations.
Taiz, one of the war-torn country’s hotspots, has been under siege since 2015.
Representatives of the government and the Houthis met in Amman last week for UN-mediated talks on reopening roads into the city but reached no agreement. Talks are expected to resume next week.
“In order for the truce to fully deliver on its potential, additional steps will need to be taken, particularly on the matters of road openings and commercial flight operations. Such steps will require leadership and a vision for all of Yemen,” he said.
However, two of the Houthis’ main demands have been met, permitting the entry of fuel ships into the Hodeidah port, and allowing two commercial flights per week to operate in and out of Sana’a Airport.
Grundberg also hailed the parties for having met “for the first time in years to make progress toward opening roads in Taiz and other governorates and implementing nationwide military de-escalation mechanisms.”EFE