on Tuesday 2 August, 2022

Yemen's warring parties agree only to renew two-month truce, U.N. says

(Reuters) - Yemen's warring sides agreed to renew a two-month truce expiring on Tuesday, the United Nations envoy said, despite international pressure for an extended and expanded deal that would build on the longest stretch of relative calm in over seven years.

"This truce extension includes a commitment from the parties to intensify negotiations to reach an expanded truce agreement as soon as possible," special envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg said in a statement.

Grundberg had been pushing for a six-month truce with additional measures, sources had told Reuters, but both sides have had grievances about implementation of the existing truce deal and mistrust runs deep.

U.S. and Omani officials had also been engaging with parties to back Grundberg's proposal following a visit by President Joe Biden to Saudi Arabia last month, where he announced following bilateral talks an agreement to "deepen and extend" the truce.

The conflict, which pits a coalition led by Saudi Arabia against the Iran-aligned Houthi group, the de facto authority in north Yemen, has killed tens of thousands and caused millions to go hungry.

The internationally recognized government has accused the Houthis of intransigence in talks to reopen main roads in disputed Taiz, while the Houthis accused the coalition of not delivering the agreed number of fuel shipments into Hodeidah and select flights from the capital Sanaa, both held by the group.

"In the coming weeks, I will intensify my engagements with the parties to ensure the full implementation of all the parties’ obligations in the truce," Grundberg said.

He said an expanded truce would offer a mechanism to pay public sector salaries, the opening of roads, expanded flights from Sanaa and regular flow of fuel to Hodeidah. The U.N. is also pushing for a permanent ceasefire to enable the resumption of talks for a sustainable political resolution.