UN Special Envoy Arrives in Yemen, Calls for Strengthening Ceasefire

UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg arrived in Sana’a on Monday, seeking strengthening of the truce which was put in order on April 2 to help end the long-year war in the war-hit country.

“He (Grundberg) is looking forward to engaging with Ansar Allah (Houthi) leadership on implementing and strengthening the truce and discussing the way forward,” the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen (OSESGY) wrote in a tweet.

Grundberg is set to meet with Houthi rebel officials during his first visit to Sana’a since taking office in September.

Grundberg’s visit to Yemen comes after the Houthi rebel group refused to join the Gulf Cooperation Council offer to broker comprehensive peace talks in Saudi Arabia between warring factions in Yemen.

The Houthi said that Sauid Arabia is part of the war in Yemen, but said they are ready to join talks to be held in a neutral country. 

The Iranian-backed Houthi insurgents took control of Sana’a in 2014, prompting a Saudi-led coalition’s military intervention. However, the two sides agreed on an UN-brokered ceasefire for the two months started in the month of Ramadan.

“Since the start of the truce, we have seen a significant reduction of violence,” Grundberg told a virtual press conference last week.

“The Truce agreement includes some important humanitarian measures, namely: the entry of 18 fuel ships to Hudaydah ports, the operation of two commercial flights a week in and out of Sana’a airport, and a meeting between the parties to agree on opening roads in Taiz and other governorates to facilitate freedom of movement of civilians inside Yemen,” Grundberg added.

Grundberg hoped that “this agreement allows Yemenis to observe and celebrate Ramadan in the tranquility the holy month inspires everywhere.”

The eight years of war in Yemen killed hundreds of thousands directly and indirectly and left millions on the brink of famine, according to the UN.

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