UN chief urges Yemen’s warring parties to extend truce

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The UN special envoy to Yemen blamed the Houthi rebels for not extending a six-month ceasefire and called on the warring parties to show “leadership, compromise and flexibility” and urgently agreement that brought the longest period of calm in Yemen since the devastating civil war began in 2014.

Hans Grundberg told the UN Security Council that after important recent talks with regional partners in Abu Dhabi and Oman’s capital Muscat, he personally believes that “there is an opportunity for the parties to reach an agreement”.

The initial two-month truce agreed on April 2 by the internationally recognized government of Yemen and the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels was extended twice, until October 2. increased war risk.”

The UN envoy outlined his proposal to extend and extend the ceasefire by six months.

The proposal included the continued cessation of offensive military operations, a transparent “mechanism” to pay civil servant salaries and pensions, the phased opening of roads in the Houthi-blocked city of Taiz, a commitment to urgently release detainees and the setting up of ” structures” to begin negotiations for a ceasefire and an end to the conflict.

Grundberg welcomed the restraint of both sides since the ceasefire expired, saying there has been no major military escalation, “only sporadic exchanges of artillery and small arms in frontline areas in Taiz, Marib, Hodeida and Dhale.”

He said the results of the ceasefire “should not be underestimated”: a 60% drop in casualties, 56 commercial flights carrying nearly 27,000 passengers, a tripling of fuel products delivered to Hodeida ports by 2021, and facing meetings of the parties under the auspices of the UN on military de-escalation and road openings in Taiz and other governorates.”

Yemen has been embroiled in civil war since 2014, when the Houthis took Sanaa and much of the northern part of the country, forcing the government to flee south and then to Saudi Arabia. A Saudi Arabia-led coalition, which included the United Arab Emirates and backed by the United States at the time, went into war months later to bring the government back to power.

The conflict sparked one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, turning into a regional proxy war in recent years. More than 150,000 people have been killed, including more than 14,500 civilians.

Deputy Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Joyce Msuya told the council in a video briefing from Hodeida that she traveled for six days in Yemen and clearly saw “the havoc this conflict has wreaked upon civilians”.

“Land mines and other explosive hazards are still the leading cause of civilian casualties,” she said. “In September, 70 civilians were reported to have been killed or injured by landmines, improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordnance.”

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Msuya said civilians face many other “risks” outside 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 most people just can’t afford,” she said. “I visited hospitals and schools that lack basic equipment, and met doctors and teachers who weren’t paid enough — if at all.”

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

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

“While this is still an alarmingly high number, it is 2 million people less than previous projections,” she said. “In addition, the number of people estimated to be in famine-like conditions is expected to fall from 161,000 people to zero.”

Nevertheless, Msuya said that although the UN appeal for Yemen has received $2 billion – more than half of the United States – it is still only 48% funded and urged donors to fill the gap.

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