UN Yemen envoy seeks to rescue truce, resume flights from Sanaa airport

UN Yemen envoy seeks to rescue truce, resume flights from Sanaa airport

AL-MUKALLA (RAHNUMA): UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg said on Thursday that he is working hard to salvage the two-month truce and resume commercial flights from Houthi-controlled Sanaa amid new reports of dozens of violations of the truce across the country.

Grundberg said that the Houthis and the Yemeni government told him again that they would stop hostilities during the truce and discuss challenges to resuming commercial flights from Sanaa, urging both sides to stick to their commitments.

“The parties have reiterated their commitment to upholding the truce. We are working tirelessly to help them identify solutions to resume flights from Sanaa,” the UN envoy said in a statement, vowing to keep pressure on the parties till they open roads in Taiz and the other provinces.

“We also continue pushing for progress on opening roads in Taiz and other governorates,” said the envoy. “I have called on the parties to work constructively and in good faith to prioritize the interests of Yemeni civilians.”

The UN-brokered truce came into effect on April 2 as warring factions agreed to stop fighting on all fronts, mainly outside the central city of Marib, open roads in the provinces, resume commercial flights from Sanaa airport and allow fuel ships to enter Hodeidah seaport.

The truce received a heavy blow on Sunday when the first commercial flight from Sanaa airport was postponed as the Houthis insisted on adding dozens of passengers with unofficial passports.

The Yemeni government on Wednesday proposed opening a new passport office in Sanaa to help people in Houthi-controlled areas get passports and to end the impasse over the departure of flights from Sanaa airport.

Hundreds of violations by the Houthis, including the deployment of military forces, tanks and heavy artillery outside Marib, have also threatened to torpedo the truce.

Yemen’s army said that the Houthis violated the truce 74 times in Taiz, Hajjah, Marib, Hodeidah and Jouf on Tuesday, accusing the Houthis of sending more military reinforcements to flashpoint sites in Marib, Hodeidah and Hajjah.

On Thursday, the government’s Joint Forces announced unilaterally opening the Al-Jarahi-Hays road in Hodeidah province under the UN-brokered truce, urging the Houthis to open the road from their side.

The current raging conflict in Yemen began in late 2014 when the Iran-backed Houthis militarily seized power in the country and expanded across the country.

The war has killed tens of thousands of people and caused the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to the UN.

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