UN chief urges Yemen’s warring parties to extend truce

Oct 12, 2022, 10:44 PM | Updated: Oct 13, 2022, 2:52 pm
FILE - Armed Houthi fighters attend the funeral procession of Houthi rebel fighters who were killed...

FILE - Armed Houthi fighters attend the funeral procession of Houthi rebel fighters who were killed in recent fighting with forces of Yemen's internationally recognized government, in Sanaa, Yemen, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. The U.S. envoy to Yemen on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, blamed rebel Houthi leaders for the recent failure to extend the country's cease-fire agreement, accusing them of making last-minute ‘maximalist demands' that derailed constructive negotiations. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed, File)

(AP Photo/Hani Mohammed, File)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. special envoy for Yemen on Thursday blamed Houthi rebels for the failure to renew a six-month-long truce and called on the warring parties to demonstrate “leadership, compromise and flexibility.”

Hans Grundberg urged them to quickly renew and expand the truce deal that brought the longest period of calm to Yemen since its devastating civil war began in 2014.

Grundberg told the U.N. Security Council that after important recent discussions with regional partners in Abu Dhabi and Oman’s capital Muscat on the way forward he personally believes “there is a possibility for the parties to come to an agreement.”

The initial two-month truce agreed to on April 2 by Yemen’s internationally recognized government and Iranian-backed Houthi rebels was extended twice, until Oct. 2. The failure to renew it, Grundberg said, “has caused new uncertainty for the country and a heightened risk of war.”

The U.N. envoy outlined his proposal for a six-month extension and expansion of the truce, saying the government engaged “positively” with the final revision but the Houthis “came up with additional demands that could not be met.”

The proposal included the continued halt to offensive military operations, a transparent “mechanism” to pay civil servant salaries and pensions, the phased opening of roads in the Houthi-blockaded city of Taiz, a commitment to urgently release detainees, and establishing “structures” to start negotiations toward a cease-fire and end to the conflict.

U.S. deputy ambassador Richard Mills also blamed the Houthis and implored them to accept the truce and “cease rhetoric threatening commercial shipping and oil companies in the region.”

Yemen’s U.N. ambassador, Abdullah Al-Saadi, urged the international community to pressure the Houthis to engage in peace efforts and stop the threats, which he said would have serious repercussions on the country’s economy and lead to “economic and humanitarian crises.”

Saudi Arabian Ambassador Abdulaziz Alwasil sharply criticized the Houthis’ rejection of the U.N. truce proposal and accused them of “terrorist practices.”

He called on the Security Council “to reassess this extremist group that is taking the future of Yemen hostage,” saying that “it is time for this Houthi militia to be qualified as a terrorist group to be boycotted.”

The U.N.’s Grundberg welcomed the restraint shown by both sides since the truce expired, saying there has been no major military escalation, “only sporadic exchanges of artillery and small arms fire in frontline areas in Taiz, Marib, Hodeida and Dhale.”

He said the achievements of the truce “should not be underestimated”: a 60% decrease in casualties, 56 commercial flights transporting almost 27,000 passengers, a three fold rise in the fuel products delivered to Hodeida ports over 2021, and “face-to-face meetings of the parties under U.N. auspices on military de-escalation and road openings in Taiz and other governorates.”

Yemen has been engulfed in civil war since 2014, when the Houthis took Sanaa and much of the northern part of the country, forcing the government to flee to the south, then to Saudi Arabia. A Saudi-led coalition that included the United Arab Emirates and was backed at the time by the United States, entered the war months later, seeking to restore the government to power.

The conflict created one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world while becoming a regional proxy war in recent years. More than 150,000 people have been killed, including over 14,500 civilians.

Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Joyce Msuya told the council in a video briefing from Hodeida that she spent six days traveling in Yemen and has seen clearly “the havoc that this conflict has wreaked on civilians.”

“Land mines and other explosive hazards have continued to be the main cause of civilian casualties,” she said. “In September, 70 civilians were reportedly killed or injured by land mines, improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordnance.”

Msuya said civilians face many other “perils” beyond the conflict, stressing that “the country’s deteriorating economy and collapsing basic services are the main drivers of people’s needs.”

“I saw markets with food and basic goods, but at prices that most people simply cannot afford,” she said. “I visited hospitals and schools that lack basic equipment, and met doctors and teachers who are not being paid enough — if at all.”

On a positive note, she said “some gains have been made in preventing famine.”

According to new estimates to be released Friday, Msuya said, “17 million people will be facing acute food insecurity during the last three months of this year.”

“While this is still an alarmingly high number, it is 2 million people less than earlier projections,” she said. “Moreover, the number of people estimated to be in famine-like conditions is projected to go down from 161,000 people to zero.”

Nonetheless, Msuya said that while the U.N. appeal for Yemen has received $2 billion — more than half from the United States — it is still only 48% funded and urged donors to fill the gap.

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

AP

Associated Press

Estonia to buy U.S. rocket artillery system in $200M deal

HELSINKI (AP) — NATO member and Russia’s neighbor Estonia is boosting its defense capabilities by acquiring an advanced U.S. rocket artillery system in the Baltic country’s largest arms procurement project ever, defense officials said Saturday. A deal signed Friday for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System is worth more than $200 million and includes equipment […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Strong quake shakes main Indonesia island; no tsunami alert

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A strong earthquake shook parts of Indonesia’s main island of Java on Saturday, causing panic and sending people into the streets, but there were no immediate reports of casualties. Officials said there was no danger of a tsunami. The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake at magnitude 5.7 and said it […]
1 day ago
Migrant workers with their belongings leave a barricaded village after authorities' easing of COVID...
Associated Press

Beijing, Shenzhen scrap COVID-19 tests for public transport

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese authorities on Saturday announced a further easing of COVID-19 curbs with major cities such as Shenzhen and Beijing no longer requiring negative tests to take public transport. The slight relaxation of testing requirements comes even as daily virus infections reach near-record highs, and follows weekend protests across the country by residents […]
1 day ago
FILE - A protester holding flowers is confronted by a policeman during a protest on a street in Sha...
Associated Press

At Shanghai vigil, bold shout for change preceded crackdown

SHANGHAI (AP) — The mourners in Shanghai lit candles and placed flowers. Someone scrawled “Urumqi, 11.24, Rest in Peace” in red on cardboard — referring to the deadly apartment fire in China’s western city of Urumqi that sparked anger over perceptions the country’s strict COVID-19 measures played a role in the disaster. What started as […]
1 day ago
A police officer tries to keep the roadway clear as people come to view the Mauna Loa volcano as it...
Associated Press

Molten lava on Hawaii’s Big Island could block main highway

HILO, Hawaii (AP) — Many people on the Big Island of Hawaii are bracing for major upheaval if lava from Mauna Loa volcano slides across a key highway and blocks the quickest route connecting two sides of the island. The molten rock could make the road impassable and force drivers to find alternate coastal routes […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

US condemns shooting at Pakistan’s embassy in Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The U.S. on Saturday condemned an attack a day earlier on the Pakistani embassy in Afghanistan’s capital, in which a senior Pakistani diplomat escaped unhurt but one of his Pakistani guards was wounded, sending a wave of anger in this Islamic nation. Friday’s assault comes amid rising tensions between the South Asian […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

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.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
UN chief urges Yemen’s warring parties to extend truce