Peace is hardly gaining ground in Yemen. But the belligerent parties to the conflict, which has pitted pro-government forces against Houthi rebels since 2014, have agreed to a two-month truce from Saturday, the United Nations (UN) announced on Friday April 1.
“The belligerents have responded positively to the United Nations’ proposal for a two-month truce which will come into effect tomorrow [samedi] April 2 at 7 p.m. »UN envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg said in a statement, adding that she could be “renewed with the consent of the parties”.
The announcement of this truce, which comes into effect on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan, comes after intra-Emenite consultations were held on Wednesday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in the absence of Houthi rebels refusing any dialogue in the territory. “enemy”.
“The parties have agreed to halt all air, land and sea military offensives in Yemen and beyond its borders”Mr. Grundberg said.
Yemeni pro-government forces have been backed for seven years by a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia, while Houthi rebels are backed by Iran.
“It’s not enough”, for Joe Biden
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called during a meeting with journalists to “use that momentum” so that this truce is “fully respected and renewed”. US President Joe Biden has “greeted” the announcement of the truce, but judges that ” it’s not enough “. “The negotiators must take the difficult and necessary step towards a political compromise that can bring lasting peace to all the people of Yemen”he said in a statement.
“The parties also agreed to allow tankers to enter ports in Hodeidah province and commercial flights to operate to and from Sanaa airport, with predetermined destinations in the region”said Grundberg.
Only UN flights are currently allowed through the airport in the Houthi-held capital Sanaa, while Hodeidah is the only region in Yemen to be subject to a demilitarization agreement, signed under the aegis of the United Nations in 2018. The port of the eponymous city is essential for the delivery of humanitarian aid.
Mr. Grundberg, who thanked the belligerents for having negotiated “in good faith”added that the latter had “agreed to meet under his aegis to open roads in Taiz and other parts of Yemen”.
“The purpose of this truce is to give Yemenis a much-needed halt to this violence, humanitarian assistance and hope that this conflict can end, which is most important.”he said.
Exchange of prisoners
Saturday, March 26, the Houthis had, for their part, announced a three-day truce extendable under certain conditions, after having carried out, the day before, sixteen attacks against Saudi Arabia. And the following day, Saudi Arabia bombarded areas controlled by the Houthis, notably in Sanaa and Hodeidah, before decreeing a ceasefire on Tuesday evening from Wednesday for the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, the first unilateral coalition ceasefire since April 2020.
Last week, the Houthis announced an agreement for the release of 1,400 prisoners held by the government against 823 held by the insurgents, including the brother of Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi. The person in charge of this file on the government side, Hadi Haig, had however specified that the agreement was “still under study”.
After seven years of intervention, the coalition, which controls Yemen’s air and sea space, has failed to dislodge the Houthi rebels from the north of the country, which they have largely snatched from the government, starting with the capital. Sanaa taken in 2014. The rebels took control of most of the north of the country, the poorest in the Arabian Peninsula and a neighbor of the wealthy Saudi monarchy.
For the moment, the rebels do not seem willing to share power, displaying an intransigence that some attribute to their position of strength on the ground, and others to the lack of firmness of the international community towards them.
According to the UN, the conflict has caused the death of nearly 380,000 people, the majority of them indirect deaths linked to hunger, disease and lack of drinking water, while millions of others have been displaced. A large part of the population, especially children, is facing acute hunger, with situations close to famine.