Yemen's warring parties begin first ceasefire in 6 years

BEIRUT, Lebanon — A two-month truce between warring parties in Yemen came into effect on Saturday, raising hopes for a reduction in viol...

BEIRUT, Lebanon — A two-month truce between warring parties in Yemen came into effect on Saturday, raising hopes for a reduction in violence in a war that has rocked the Arabian Peninsula and sparked a overwhelming humanitarian crisis.

The truce, the first coordinated ceasefire in years, which was brokered by the United Nations, includes stopping all attacks inside Yemen and outside its borders; the entry of tankers into a port controlled by the rebels; and the resumption of some commercial flights at the international airport of Sana, the capital of Yemen.

“The purpose of this truce is to give Yemenis a necessary break from violence, relief from humanitarian suffering and, above all, hope that an end to this conflict is possible,” said Special Envoy Hans Grundberg. United Nations for Yemen. said in a press release announcing the deal on Friday.

President Biden welcomed the truce.

“The ceasefire must be respected and, as I have said before, it is imperative that we end this war,” he said in a statement. “After seven years of conflict, negotiators must undertake the hard and necessary work to reach political compromises that can bring a lasting future of peace for all the people of Yemen.”

The truce, which began at 7 p.m. Saturday in Yemen, is the first ceasefire accepted by all parties since 2016. It coincides with the first day of Ramadan, the holy month of Muslim fasting.

Officials and analysts hailed the move, but warned it was at best a first step in a long and complicated process to address the many issues that have convulsed Yemen, ravaged its economy and undermined security. of its wealthy oil-producing neighbours.

The conflict began in 2014 when Houthi rebels seized Sana and much of the country’s northwest, sending the government into exile. A few months later, a Saudi-led military coalition intervenes with a massive air campaign, hoping to push back the Houthis, backed by Iran, and restore the government.

But the war has settled into a crushing stalemate. Coalition Jets infrastructure destroyed and bombed weddings and funerals, killing civilians. The Houthis deployed child soldiers, laid landmines and launched increasingly sophisticated drone and missile attacks against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, another coalition member. The Yemeni government remained mired in infighting with other factions believed to be on its side.

The United States was not directly involved in the war, but a major supplier of bombs and jet aircraft to coalition members and provided Saudi Arabia with technology and intelligence to help defend its southern border with Yemen.

Diplomats from the United Nations, other Gulf countries and the United States have been trying for years to broker peace talks, efforts that have so far produced only a short-term reduction in violence.

The obstacles to the reunification of the country and to a lasting peace are numerous.

The Houthi grip on Sana remains firm, despite years of airstrikes and coalition offensives by the Yemeni military and its allies. The movement has established a de facto administration to govern its territory and is unlikely to voluntarily relinquish control without demanding concessions that the Yemeni government and the coalition may be loath to grant.

The Yemeni coalition allies are a fractured group that includes parts of the Yemeni military and armed successors who have fought against each other. Yemen’s President, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, is widely unpopular and seen as out of touch with the suffering of Yemenis, giving him little ability to unify ranks.

And Iran has found that adding fuel to war is an easy way to bog down Saudi Arabia, a practice it could not easily abandon.

Still, the main combatants all seemed to be on board with the truce.

Yemeni Foreign Minister Ahmed bin Mubarak welcomed the truce and said two tanker ships would soon unload in the Houthi-controlled port of Hudaydah, easing the coalition blockade that has sent oil prices soaring. fuel price.

He also said limited international flights would soon resume at Sana airport, which the coalition bombed at the start of the war and closed to all but a limited number of humanitarian flights. This makes it much more difficult for Yemenis in northern Yemen to travel, including those injured in coalition strikes who need treatment abroad.

Muhammad Abdel-Salam, spokesman for the Houthis, expressed his support for the truce on Twitter. Mohammed al-Houthi, a senior Houthi official, wrote that “its credibility will be damaged by its implementation”.

Mr Grundberg, the UN envoy, said he would use the truce to continue discussions with the parties “with the aim of achieving a permanent ceasefire, taking urgent economic and humanitarian measures and to resume the political process”.

Shuaib Almosawa contributed reporting from Sana, Yemen.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Yemen's warring parties begin first ceasefire in 6 years
Yemen's warring parties begin first ceasefire in 6 years
Newsrust - US Top News
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