Guterres hails two-month extension of Yemen truce

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has welcomed the two-month extension of a nationwide truce in Yemen.

“I welcome the agreement by the Government of Yemen and the Houthis to renew the truce in Yemen for an additional two months under the same terms as the original agreement,” said Guterres in a statement issued at UN headquarters in New York.

He is currently in Stockholm, marking 50 years since the UN conference linking the environment and poverty, reports Xinhua news agency.

Since the original truce came into effect on April 2, he said, Yemenis experienced tangible benefits, including a significant reduction in violence and civilian casualties.

The UN chief also noted an increase in fuel deliveries through the Hodeidah port and the resumption of international commercial flights from Sanaa for the first time in almost six years after the conflict began in 2014.

The truce also enabled the parties to meet directly under UN auspices to negotiate military de-escalation mechanisms, Guterres said, adding that talks also are expected on the opening of roads in Taiz and other governorates.

“I strongly urge the parties to complete the full implementation of the terms of the truce without delay in order to uphold the interests of all Yemenis, who continue to suffer from one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world,” he said, referring to the nation being on the brink of famine during hostilities.

“I thank my special envoy, Hans Grundberg, and his team for their tireless efforts and those of all regional and international actors, including the members of the Security Council, for their continued support to our collective efforts,” said the Secretary-general.

“Regional and international support will remain critical for the continuation and successful implementation of the truce.”

The second truce took effect at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

Under the UN auspices, Yemen’s warring parties entered a two-month ceasefire on April 2, which includes allowing commercial flights to and from Houthi-held Sanaa and the entry of fuel ships into the Houthi-held port of Hodeidah, and lifting the siege of the government-held Taiz city.

The warring parties have largely held the truce, but they have yet to reach a final agreement on lifting the siege of Taiz city.

Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014 when the Iran-backed Houthi militia seized control of several northern provinces and forced the Saudi-backed Yemeni government out of the capital Sanaa.

The war has killed tens of thousands of people, displaced 4 million, and pushed the country to the brink of starvation.

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