Grundberg: Intensive contacts to extend the truce in Yemen

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The UN envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, announced Thursday that he is conducting intensive contacts with the parties to the conflict in order to extend and expand the truce.

The UN envoy said in a statement that he had intensified his contacts with the parties “in support of the implementation of all provisions of the armistice and to explore opportunities to expand its scope and extend its term beyond August 2nd.”

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He added that “the extension and expansion of the armistice will increase the benefits for the Yemeni people, and provide a platform for building more confidence between the parties.

And the start of serious discussions about economic priorities such as revenues and salaries, and security priorities, including the ceasefire.

“The ultimate goal is to move towards a comprehensive political settlement that ends the conflict,” Grundberg noted.

He continued: “Thanks to the continued commitment of the parties, the truce has largely held for nearly 4 months, which represents one of the longest periods of relative calm after more than 7 years of continuous conflict, during which the total number of civilian casualties decreased compared to their numbers before the truce.”

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He explained that “during the armistice, 20 round-trip flights have been operated so far between Sanaa and Amman, and one round-trip between Sanaa and Cairo, all of which carried more than 8,000 passengers.”

And he added: “Between April 2 and July 21, 2022, 26 fuel ships entered the port of Hodeidah (west), carrying 720,270 tons of fuel derivatives, while more fuel ships are under procedures.”

The UN envoy considered that “the armistice brought about a major transformation for Yemen, and made a tangible difference in people’s lives.”

He pointed out that “the Yemeni people and the international community want and look forward to fully implementing, renewing and strengthening the truce.”

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He expressed his hope that the parties would participate constructively in his efforts and realize the gains that can be achieved for the Yemeni people from extending and expanding the truce.

He concluded, “We must take advantage of this occasion and not waste the opportunity.”

And in early June, the Yemeni government and the Houthi group agreed to extend a humanitarian truce in the country for a period of two months, after the expiration of a previous similar truce that began on April 2.

Among the most prominent provisions of the truce currently in force are a ceasefire, the opening of the port of Hodeidah, the resumption of commercial flights through Sanaa airport, and the opening of roads in the city of Taiz, which has been besieged by the Houthis since 2015.

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For more than 7 years, Yemen has been witnessing a continuous war between forces loyal to the legitimate government, backed by an Arab military coalition led by the Saudi neighbor, and the Iranian-backed Houthis, who have controlled several governorates, including Sanaa, since September 2014.