Calm in Yemen is result of strong diplomatic effort, US says

State Department urges Houthi rebels to support peace initiatives as US special envoy Tim Lenderking visits the Gulf

US special envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking during an interview in Amman in April. Reuters
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The United States credits strong diplomatic co-operation with regional partners, including Saudi Arabia, for the longest period of calm in Yemen since the civil war began in late 2014.

A UN-brokered nationwide ceasefire that went into effect on April 2 brought about six months of relative calm after being extended twice for two-month periods. However, Yemen's warring sides failed to agree on a further extension beyond October 2.

“Yemen has had the longest period of relative calm since the war began over eight years ago,” the US State Department said in a statement.

It said this was the result of “strong diplomatic efforts between the United States and our partners — including Saudi Arabia”.

The conflict in Yemen started with the takeover of the capital, Sanaa, by the Houthis in late 2014, prompting a Saudi-led coalition to intervene months later on behalf of the internationally recognised government.

The US statement came as Washington's special envoy for Yemen, Tim Lenderking, embarked on a visit to Saudi Arabia and the UAE this week “to support efforts to renew and expand the UN-mediated truce in Yemen”.

"We remind the Houthis that the world is watching their actions and urge them to co-operate with the UN and listen to Yemeni appeals for peace," the State Department said.

Shortly after the truce lapsed, the rebels warned of an imminent "return to military operations". Yemen's government says fighting on the frontlines has resumed.

"The only path forward to ending eight years of destructive war is through a durable ceasefire and political settlement that allows Yemenis to determine the future of their country," the department said.

US and European powers have urged Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels to extend the truce.

The UN envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, said the expiry of the truce would lead to a further deterioration in the situation in the country.

Mr Grundberg said there were hopes for a renewal of the truce and called for engagement by the rebels and the government.

The UN says the war has created the world’s greatest humanitarian crisis. Aid agencies estimate that 23.4 million people — more than 70 per cent of the population — are in need of humanitarian assistance, including 12.1m who are in acute need.

Nearly 19m people are food insecure, of whom 7.1m are projected to face emergency conditions.

Updated: November 04, 2022, 11:08 AM