Yemen’s warring parties agree to two-month truce, UN says

Yemeni police inspect a site of Saudi-led air raids targeting two houses in Sanaa, Yemen [File: Hani Mohammed/AP Photo]

The warring sides in Yemen’s seven-year conflict have agreed to a two-month nationwide truce, starting with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the United Nations envoy has said.

The UN-brokered deal on Friday between a Saudi-led coalition and the rebel Houthi group aligned with Iran is the most significant step yet towards ending a conflict that has killed tens of thousands and pushed millions into hunger. The last coordinated cessation of hostilities nationwide was during peace talks in 2016.

“Not only has this conflict killed tens of thousands of Yemenis, but also pushed millions more into hunger”

The UN and United States envoys had been trying since last year to engineer a permanent ceasefire needed to revive political negotiations stalled since late 2018 to end the conflict.

The Saudi-backed Yemeni government, which the Houthis forced out of the capital, Sanaa, in late 2014, said earlier it would facilitate arrangements for the release of prisoners, opening Sanaa airport and allowing fuel vessels into Houthi-held Hodeidah port.

“We immediately announce the release of the first two fuel ships through Hodeidah port,” Foreign Minister Ahmed Bin Mubarak said on Twitter.

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

Another senior Houthi official, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, said on Twitter that its “credibility would be in implementation”.

The Saudi-led coalition, which intervened in March 2015 against the Houthis, controls Yemen’s seas and air space.