Yemen truce shows traditional diplomacy still effective, says UN envoy

Hans Grundberg's office spent months negotiating the agreement

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Yemen’s first nationwide truce since the war began in 2015 has become a reality partly as a result of “the hard work of traditional diplomacy”, UN Special Envoy to Yemen Hans Grundberg said on Tuesday.

At an online press conference, Mr Grundberg said he had engaged in positive talks with the warring parties in the lead-up to the announcement of the two-month ceasefire, which began on April 2.

“We were never certain we would reach an agreement but I am happy and very pleased by the very frank and straight co-operation and discussion and negotiations I’ve had with the parties,” he said.

Yemen has been mired in civil war since the Houthi takeover of Sanaa in 2014 and subsequent intervention by a Saudi-led coalition a year later.

There is currently no mechanism for the UN to monitor the truce, which is largely holding despite reports of breaches made by both sides.

Mr Grundberg said it is “obvious” that the parties’ commitment is required for maintaining the relative calm.

“These are the most precarious days of the truce.

“We are in the process of setting up a co-ordination mechanism to help parties to prevent, manage and de-escalate incidents,” Mr Grundberg said. There has been a “significant reduction in violence” since the agreement came into effect, he said.

In the meantime, Sanaa International Airport is preparing to carry out twice-a-week commercial flights for the first time since its closed in 2016.

“Technical issues need to be addressed,” before flights can resume, given the airport’s long period of inactivity.

On the re-opening of roads around Taez, Mr Grundberg said invitations have been extended to both sides of the conflict to form a joint committee, although no date has been determined yet.

Updated: April 06, 2022, 1:59 PM