UN envoy calls for extension of Yemen truce

'Civilian casualties have dropped considerably, fighting has sharply reduced,' Hans Grundberg says

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The UN envoy to Yemen on Tuesday called for extending a long-sought truce between the government and the Houthi rebels, which is set to expire in two weeks.

The renewable two-month truce that went into effect in early April has made a “considerable positive impact on the daily lives of many Yemenis”, Hans Grundberg said at the end of a closed UN Security Council meeting.

“Over the past six weeks, civilian casualties have dropped considerably, fighting has sharply reduced with no aerial attacks from Yemen across its borders and no confirmed air strikes inside Yemen,” Mr Grundberg continued.

The official added, however, that he was seeing unconfirmed reports of continued armed clashes that were causing civilian casualties and called for further efforts to de-escalate the crisis.

“I continue to engage the parties to overcome outstanding challenges and to ensure the extension of the truce which is set to expire in two weeks,” Mr Grundberg said.

As part of the truce, the first commercial flight in nearly six years took off from Yemen's rebel-held capital on Monday. Mr Grundberg said another flight is scheduled for Wednesday.

The conflict pits Yemen's Saudi-backed government, officially based in Aden, against the Iran-aligned Houthis.

The Houthis took over Sanaa in 2014, prompting a Saudi-led military intervention the following year and igniting a war that has caused what the UN calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Updated: May 17, 2022, 10:05 PM