Yemen's Houthi rebels must extend truce, says UK

Top British official urges Houthis to co-operate with UN

Yemenis displaced by conflict receive aid to meet their basic needs, at a camp for displaced people in the Al Khoukha directorate, Hodeidah. AFP
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Yemen’s Houthi rebels must co-operate with the United Nations to renew a truce that has brought much-needed calm to the country, the UK said on Thursday.

The UN-led ceasefire came into effect at 7pm on April 2 and was extended for two months twice.

However, Yemen's warring sides failed to renew the deal this month.

“The time has come for Houthi leaders to engage constructively with the UN," Rosie Dyas, spokeswoman for the UK government in the Mena region, wrote on Twitter.

"We encourage all parties to avoid further escalation because this is the biggest possibility for peace since the beginning of the conflict and it is what the Yemeni people deserve.”

The Houthi rebels, who are at war against the internationally recognised government, rejected a proposal put forth by the UN's special envoy, Hans Grundberg, early this month, to extend the truce for a further six months and broaden it to new areas of agreement.

"Since April, May, the Yemeni people lived in safer conditions, they travelled more freely," Ms Dyas said. "Oil production started running in the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, thousands were able to visit their loved ones and managed to get health care."

She said the rebels' rejection of an extension puts peace in Yemen in jeopardy.

Truce could be extended

Last week, Mr Grundberg said there was a possibility that the truce could be extended.

“I personally believe that there is still a possibility for the parties to come to an agreement, the stakes are this high,” Mr Grundberg told the UN Security Council.

“It is critical that we do not lose this opportunity. The parties need to demonstrate the leadership, compromise and flexibility required to urgently reach an agreement on the renewal and expansion of the truce.”

The government is pushing to renew the truce by forming a political committee that will oversee the peace process, an official told The National on Wednesday.

The committee will be led by Foreign Minister Ahmed bin Mubarak and other officials, said the source, who did not want to be named.

It will report to Yemen’s Presidential Leadership Council and is composed of members from the country’s north and south.

The conflict in Yemen started eight years ago after the takeover of Sanaa by the Iranian-backed Houthis, prompting a Saudi-led coalition to intervene on behalf of the internationally recognised government.

Updated: October 20, 2022, 9:20 AM