Yemen’s 2-month ceasefire enters into force

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A two-month ceasefire brokered by the UN in Yemen is set to come into force at 7 p.m, the UN envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg announced one hour prior to the agreed truce.

“As of tonight, all offensive ground, aerial and naval military operations should cease,” Grundberg on Saturday announced in a statement, adding that the success of this initiative will depend on the warring parties’ commitment to implementing the truce agreement with its accompanying humanitarian measures.

The UN envoy also urged the Yemeni warring parties to de-escalate “inflammatory media rhetoric and hate speech”.

The truce, which was announced by the UN envoy on Friday, includes facilitating the entry of 18 fuel ships into the ports of Hodeidah and allowing two commercial flights a week to and from the Sanaa International airport. The Red Sea port city of Hodeidah and the capital Sanaa are under the control of the Houthi militia.

The terms also include convening a meeting between the parties to lift the siege, open the roads and allow humanitarian aid access to the government-held Taiz city, Xinhua news agency reported.

The UN envoy said this truce aims to give Yemenis a necessary break from violence, and relief from humanitarian suffering, stressing that this truce can be renewed beyond the two-month period with the consent of the parties.

The Yemeni government and Houthi militia welcomed the ceasefire in separate statements on Friday. They also voiced readiness to exchange all war prisoners and political detainees.

If implemented, the truce would be a major breakthrough in the seven-year civil war in Yemen as previous ceasefire deals had all failed.

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 government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi 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, according to the UN.

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