Yemen's warring parties agree to extend ceasefire by two months

UN-brokered truce began in April and was renewed on June 2

Displaced Yemenis gather at a camp for Internally Displaced Persons amid a UN-brokered nationwide truce, on the outskirts of Sana'a. EPA
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Yemen's warring parties have agreed to extend their ceasefire for two months, the UN said on Tuesday.

A UN-brokered truce between Yemen’s internationally recognised government and the Iran-backed Houthi rebels began on April 2 and was extended on June 2.

“I am pleased to announce that the parties have agreed to extend the truce, under the same terms, for an additional two months, from August 2, 2022, until October 2, 2022,” said the UN envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg.

“This truce extension includes a commitment from the parties to intensify negotiations to reach an expanded truce agreement as soon as possible.

“I wish to express my gratitude to the leaderships of the parties for agreeing to this truce extension and for their continued constructive engagements with me in implementing and seeking an expansion to the truce.”

Mr Grundberg said he would intensify his efforts with the parties to reach, as soon as possible, an expanded truce agreement.

“I have shared with the parties a proposal for an expanded truce agreement, and I have received from both sides substantive comments on this proposal,” he said.

US President Joe Biden welcomed the truce extension and praised the ceasefire for having brought to Yemen a period of “unprecedented calm”.

He thanked the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Oman for their role in the truce extension, which was discussed on his recent trip to Jeddah.

Still, Mr Biden said the truce is not enough.

“We urge the Yemeni parties to seize this opportunity to work constructively under UN auspices to reach an inclusive, comprehensive agreement that includes steps to improve freedom of movement and expanded salary payments and that paves the way for a durable, Yemeni-led resolution to the conflict,” Mr Biden said.

The UN said its proposal would help to reach an agreement on a transparent method to pay civil servant salaries and civilian pensions.

It will also help in opening roads in Taez and other governorates, opening more destinations to and from Sanaa International Airport, and providing a regular flow of fuel to the ports of Hodeidah.

An expanded agreement would also provide a chance to negotiate a nationwide ceasefire, address humanitarian and economic problems and prepare for the resumption of the Yemeni-led political process to reach a sustainable and just peace, the UN said.

The renewal announcement came hours after an Omani delegation concluded three-day talks with the Houthi leadership, including with the rebels’ chief Abdul Malik Al Houthi in the capital Sanaa.

Mohammed Abdel Salam, the Houthis' chief negotiator and spokesman, said on Twitter that the talks focused on “consolidating chances of halting the war”.

Updated: August 03, 2022, 7:53 AM