EU states condemn attack on Taez and call for extension of Yemen truce

City has been under Houthi blockade since 2016

Buildings damaged during years of fighting in Yemen's rebel-besieged third city of Taez. AFP
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The EU on Tuesday condemned an attack on a central Yemeni city, which killed a child and injured dozens.

The attack on Saturday, which the internationally recognised government in Yemen has blamed on the Houthi rebels, comes as a nationwide truce agreed by the rival sides is set to expire on August 2.

It took place in the Zaid Al Moshki district of Taez, where a group of children were playing in an open area.

“People of Taez deserve peace and unrestricted access to the city," said the EU delegation in Yemen. "Crucial to respect and extend the truce, for the benefit of all Yemenis.

“The parties can achieve this by working closely with UN Envoy to Yemen."

The French embassy in Yemen called on the rebels to stop using violence against civilians.

"This blind violence practised by the Houthis against the population must stop," the embassy said. "France calls on the Houthis to follow the path of peace instead of war."

Taez, Yemen’s third largest city and the capital of the province of the same name, has been under a blockade imposed by the rebels since 2016.

They have rejected two UN proposals to end the blockade.

The special UN envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, on Monday condemned the attack and killing of civilians.

Mr Grundberg said he was “especially alarmed” by the attack.

“The killing and injuring of children is particularly reprehensible,” he said in a statement.

The UN brokered a two-month ceasefire that went into effect on April 1 and was extended for another two months in June. It marked the first nationwide truce in six years of the Yemen conflict.

The pact calls for the reopening of the roads around Taez and elsewhere in Yemen.

Criticism of the attack comes as the US special envoy for Yemen, Tim Lenderking, is due to visit to Jordan and Saudi Arabia to meet top diplomats.

Mr Lenderking will pledge to push for support for the UN-mediated truce in Yemen, the State Department said.

He "will continue our efforts to help advance peace”, said the department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.

“The special envoy’s engagements will focus on expanding, extending and renewing the current truce agreement that will further the tangible benefits already reaching Yemenis and build towards a more comprehensive, inclusive peace process and permanent ceasefire.”

Updated: July 26, 2022, 1:23 PM