UN: Yemen’s Warring Parties Agree to Two-Month Truce
Yemen’s warring sides have accepted a two-month truce, starting with the holy month of Ramadan, the U.N. envoy to Yemen said Friday.
The agreement allows fuel ships to enter Houthi-held Hodeidah port and select flights from Sanaa airport.
The envoy, Hans Grundberg, announced the agreement from Amman, Jordan, after meeting separately with both sides of war in recent days. He said that he hoped the truce would be renewed after two months.
Hans Grundberg said in a statement that the nationwide ceasefire could be renewed with the consent of the parties.
The truce is to start on Saturday, the first day of Ramadan, and will also allow for shipments of fuel to arrive in the Yemen’s key port city of Hodeida and for passenger flights to resume from the airport in the capital, Sanaa.
U.N. spokesperson Farhan Haq said the warring sides agreed to halt all offensive military, air, ground and maritime operations inside Yemen and across its borders, starting at 7 p.m. Saturday.
The agreement came after the Saudi-led coalition, which has been battling the Houthis in Yemen since 2015, began observing a unilateral cease-fire on Wednesday — an offer that was rejected by Houthis.
Last Saturday, the Houthis also announced their own unilateral initiative that included a three-day suspension of cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia, as well as fighting inside Yemen. Their announcement came shortly after they claimed attacks on a key Saudi oil facility in the Red Sea city of Jiddah, ahead of a Formula One race in the kingdom.
On Friday, in a Twitter post, Mohammed Abdel-Salam, the spokesman and chief negotiator of the Houthis, welcomed the cease-fire.
“This is the result of fairly painstaking work” by Grundberg and other diplomats, Haq said. He said the envoy called the truce “a first and long-overdue step” toward ending the fighting that has killed more than 150,000 people, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project figures. That figure includes both fighters and civilians.
During the two-month truce, the Saudi-led coalition will allow 18 vessels carrying fuel into the port of Hodeida, and two commercial flights a week from and to the Yemeni capital to Jordan and Egypt, according to a document of the truce obtained by The Associated Press.
After the truce takes effect, the U.N. envoy will call for both sides to convene to agree on opening roads around Taiz and other provinces, the document said.
PRESS STATEMENT BY THE UN SPECIAL ENVOY FOR YEMEN HANS GRUNDBERG ON A TWO-MONTH TRUCE
I would like to announce that 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. The parties accepted to halt all offensive military air, ground and maritime operations inside Yemen and across its borders; they also agreed for fuel ships to enter into Hudaydah ports and commercial flights to operate in and out of Sana’a airport to predetermined destinations in the region; they further agreed to meet under my auspices to open roads in Taiz and other governorates in Yemen. The Truce can be renewed beyond the two-month period with the consent of the parties.
I thank the parties for working with me and my office in good faith and making the necessary compromises to reach this agreement. The aim of this Truce is to give Yemenis a necessary break from violence, relief from the humanitarian suffering and most importantly hope that an end to this conflict is possible.
This agreement would not have been possible without international and regional support, which I am grateful for. For the successful implementation of this Truce and for moving to the next steps, it is critical that this support continues in a sustained and focused manner.
During these two months, I plan to intensify my work with the parties with the aim to reach a permanent ceasefire, address urgent economic and humanitarian measures and resume the political process.
I call on the parties to fully adhere to and respect the Truce and its elements and to take all necessary steps to immediately implement it.
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.