Warring parties in Yemen agree to a 2-month truce

CAIRO – Yemen’s warring parties have accepted a two-month truce starting with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the United Nations special envoy to Yemen said on Friday.

The special envoy, Hans Grundberg, announced the agreement from Amman, Jordan, after meeting privately with both sides in the country’s brutal civil war in recent days. He said he hoped the truce would be extended after two months.

The agreement comes after a significant escalation in recent weeks that has seen a number of attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels across the country’s borders to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia.

The truce will begin on Saturday, the first day of Ramadan, and will also allow fuel shipments to the key Yemeni port city of Hodeida and for passenger flights to continue from the airport in the capital Sanaa.

United Nations spokesman Farhan Haq said the warring parties had agreed to cease all military offensive activities, in the air, on land and at sea within Yemen and across its borders, starting July 7. Saturday evening.

The agreement comes after the Saudi-led coalition, which has been fighting the Houthis in Yemen since 2015, began observing a unilateral ceasefire on Wednesday – an offer that was rejected by the rebels. refuse. Saudi Arabia has proposed a unilateral ceasefire within the framework of the talks it holds to resolve the war in Yemen. But the Houthis did not attend the talks because they were held in neutral territory.

Last Saturday, the Houthis announced a unilateral initiative that included a three-day suspension of cross-border attacks against Saudi Arabia, as well as fighting inside Yemen. Their announcement comes shortly after they announced attacks on a key Saudi oil facility in the Red Sea city of Jiddah, ahead of a Formula 1 race in the kingdom.

On Friday, in a Twitter post, Mohammed Abdel-Salam, the Houthis’ spokesman and chief negotiator, welcomed the ceasefire.

Yemen’s war began in September 2014, when the Houthis overran the capital Sanaa from their northwestern stronghold in the Arab world’s poorest country. The Houthis then pushed the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, elected in 2012 as the sole candidate after Ali Abdullah Saleh’s long rule.

A Saudi-led coalition, including the UAE, entered the war in March 2015 to try to restore Hadi’s government to power. But the war dragged on for long, bloody years, pushing Yemen to the brink of famine.

The United Nations and other organizations have pushed the coalition and insurgents to stop the fighting during the month of Ramadan, as has happened repeatedly over the years.

“This is the result of pretty hard work” by Grundberg and other diplomats, Haq said. He said the envoy called the truce the “first and lasting step” to ending the fighting that has killed more than 150,000 people, according to the Armed Conflict Locations and Events Data Project. . That number includes both fighters and civilians.

During the two-month truce, the Saudi-led coalition will allow 18 ships carrying oil products to enter the port of Hodeida, and two commercial flights per week from and to the Yemeni capital to Jordan and Egypt. Egypt, according to a cease-fire document obtained. of the Associated Press.

After the ceasefire comes into effect, the UN envoy will call on the two sides to convene to agree on paving the way in Taiz and other provinces, the document said.

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