US calls for extension of Yemen truce

State Department says the deal has improved the lives of millions of Yemenis

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left) meets Yemen's President Rashad Al Alimi in New York on Monday. EPA
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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met the Yemeni Chairman of the Presidential Leadership Council Rashad Al Alimi on Monday in New York to discuss the need to extend a UN-mediated truce by October 2.

"The Secretary and President Al Alimi affirmed their support for additional steps under the truce, including opening roads in Taez and other areas, expanding commercial flights from Sanaa airport, and ensuring salary payments to tens of thousands of teachers, nurses, and other civil servants who have for years worked without pay," the State Department said.

A UN-mediated truce between the coalition and the Houthis in Yemen has largely held since April. The UN is trying to extend and expand the truce before it expires.

The State Department said the truce had brought "much-needed calm and hope, while improving the lives of millions of Yemenis across the country".

Mr Blinken also affirmed US support for the council.

In April, Mr Al Alimi was sworn in along with other members of an eight-member presidential council in the southern port city of Aden. This was in the presence of UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg, as well as several European and Arab ambassadors.

Aden is serving as the temporary capital of Yemen.

Mr Al Alimi replaced former president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who stepped aside and ceded his powers to the presidential council.

The coalition and the Iran-aligned Houthis agreed in August to extend a truce they reached in April for two more months.

Yemen’s civil war erupted in 2014, when the Houthis seized the capital of Sanaa and much of northern Yemen — and forced the internationally recognised government into exile.

The Saudi-led coalition entered the war in early 2015 to try to restore the government to power.

The UN says the conflict has created one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

The World Food Programme’s representative Richard Ragan told The National in May that a funding shortfall left the UN with immense budgetary pressures. He said these forced the WFP to make hard decisions about how to distribute food aid fairly.

Updated: September 20, 2022, 2:43 PM