UN envoy to seek longer, expanded truce in Yemen civil war

Jul 11, 2022, 6:33 AM | Updated: 6:37 pm

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. special envoy for Yemen said Monday he plans to explore the possibility of a longer and expanded truce with the country’s warring parties in the coming weeks.

Hans Grundberg said an extension could be a good step in moving toward a cease-fire in the country’s eight-year civil war. He didn’t provide details of the length or expansion he is seeking ahead of the Aug. 2 expiration of the current two-month truce extension.

Grundberg told the U.N. Security Council that renewing the truce would provide time and the opportunity to start serious discussions on Yemen’s economy and security and to begin addressing priority issues such as revenues and payment of salaries.

“I ask the parties to engage with me on these issues with a sense of urgency and flexibility,” he said.

The cease-fire between Yemen’s internationally recognized government and Iran-backed Houthi rebels initially took effect April 2 and was extended June 2. Though each side at times accused the other of violating the truce, it was the first nationwide halt in fighting in the past six years of the conflict in the Arab World’s most impoverished nation.

“To date, the truce has been holding for over three months,” Grundberg said.

Civilian casualties have been reduced by two-thirds, compared to the three months before the truce began, he said. And since the renewal of the truce June 2, seven fuel ships carrying nearly 200,000 metric tons of various fuel products have been cleared to enter Yemen’s main port of Hodeida.

Since the start of the truce, 15 commercial round-trip flights have transported almost 7,000 passengers between Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, and the Jordanian capital, Amman, Grundberg added. He said discussions are under way with Egyptian authorities about regular flights to Cairo.

Under the truce, the parties committed to meet to agree on road openings, including lifting the Houthis’ ground blockade of Taiz, Yemen’s third largest city. Grundberg said the Houthis rejected the latest U.N. proposal on a phased opening but his efforts to reach a solution will continue.

“An agreement on road openings in Taiz and other governorates would be momentous, and its benefits would reverberate across Yemen,” he said.

The U.N. envoy expressed concern at “worrisome escalatory rhetoric by the parties questioning the benefits of the truce” in recent weeks.

He called this “a dangerous move,” urged the parties to halt such rhetoric, and warned that the alternative to the truce “is a return to hostilities and likely an intensified phase of conflict with all of its predictable consequences or Yemeni civilians and regional security.”

Grundberg said the U.N. continues to receive reports from both sides about alleged incidents including direct and indirect fire, drone attacks, recoonnaissance overflights and new fortifications.

“The parties are also allegedly sending reinforcements to main front lines including in Marib, Hodeida and Taiz,” he said.

Fighting in Yemen erupted in 2014, when the Houthis descended from their northern enclave and took over the capital, forcing the government to flee into exile in Saudi Arabia. A Saudi-led coalition entered the war in early 2015 to try to restore the government to power.

The conflict, which eventually descended into a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, has killed over 150,000 people, including over 14,500 civilians, and created one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, pushing millions of Yemenis to the brink of famine.

Joyce Msuya , assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, told the council that the Yemeni rial is still falling and “many more families are going hungry again.”

But she said the U.N. World Food Program was forced to cut rations for millions of people several weeks ago because the U.N. appeal for $4.27 billion for humanitarian aid for Yemen this year has received just over $1.1 billion.

In addition, Msuya said, a U.N. verification and inspection system created in 2016 to facilitate vital commercial imports to Yemen is also running out of money and will shut down in September unless it gets $3.5 million to cover operations for the year’s final months.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



Associated Press

Body of avalanche victim in Washington state recovered after being spotted by volunteer

Search crews have recovered the body of a climber who was one of three killed in an avalanche on Washington's Colchuck Peak in February.

1 day ago

Eugene and Linda Lamie, of Homerville, Ga., sit by the grave of their son U.S. Army Sgt. Gene Lamie...

Associated Press

Biden on Memorial Day lauds generations of fallen US troops who ‘dared all and gave all’

President Joe Biden lauded the sacrifice of generations of U.S. troops who died fighting for their country as he marked Memorial Day with the traditional wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

2 days ago

OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman, the founder of ChatGPT and creator of OpenAI gestures while speaking at Un...

Associated Press

ChatGPT maker downplays fears they could leave Europe over AI rules

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman on Friday downplayed worries that the ChatGPT maker could exit the European Union

3 days ago

File - Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, left, and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman arrive to the White House for a ...

Associated Press

Regulators take aim at AI to protect consumers and workers

As concerns grow over increasingly powerful artificial intelligence systems like ChatGPT, the nation’s financial watchdog says it’s working to ensure that companies follow the law when they’re using AI.

5 days ago

FILE - A security surveillance camera is seen near the Microsoft office building in Beijing, July 2...

Associated Press

Microsoft: State-sponsored Chinese hackers could be laying groundwork for disruption

State-backed Chinese hackers have been targeting U.S. critical infrastructure and could be laying the technical groundwork for the potential disruption of critical communications between the U.S. and Asia during future crises, Microsoft said Wednesday.

6 days ago

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House, May 17, 2023, in Washington....

Associated Press

White House unveils new efforts to guide federal research of AI

The White House on Tuesday announced new efforts to guide federally backed research on artificial intelligence

7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...

Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

UN envoy to seek longer, expanded truce in Yemen civil war