Ceasefire in Yemen will not be extended | Current Middle East | DW

Centuries-old, multi-storey residential buildings in dense block development

According to the United Nations, negotiations on an extended ceasefire in Yemen have failed for the time being. The UN special representative for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, was disappointed, but wanted to continue to promote an agreement. “I will continue my diligent efforts to work with the parties towards a speedy agreement on the future path,” he said several hours after the deadline. A short time later there were reports of renewed fighting in several provinces.

Grundberg had tried to get an extension of six months and to attach additional conditions. Among other things, it is about the opening of important roads in Tais in the south-west, about means of military de-escalation and about the release of prisoners. There were also negotiations aimed at turning the ceasefire into a permanent ceasefire.

Tehran’s henchmen block

However, the Houthi rebels rejected the proposals. The Houthi Supreme Council said after a meeting in the capital Sana’a that the proposed measures could “not start a peace process”; they would not meet the demands of the insurgents. The government said on Saturday that it had received the proposal and would “treat it positively”.

Centuries-old, multi-storey residential buildings in dense block development

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After comparatively quiet months, the conflict could now intensify again. Aid organizations sounded the alarm. Oxfam spoke of “terrible news” for the people in the country. “Millions are now at risk as bombing, ground shelling and missile attacks continue.” The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), which is active in Yemen, spoke of a “deeply disappointing” development.

“Longest phase of relative calm”

UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on the parties to the conflict on Friday to take advantage of the opportunity for an extension. The ceasefire led to “the longest phase of relative calm since the beginning of the war”. Despite repeated violations of the ceasefire, according to the UN, there were no major military operations and no significant shifts in the fronts during this period. Significantly less violence and fewer civilian casualties were recorded.

In Yemen, a military alliance led by Saudi Arabia is fighting alongside the government against the Houthi rebels who control large parts of the north. Riyadh sees them as an extension of its arch-enemy Iran. The ceasefire between the government and the Houthis came into effect in early April for an initial period of two months and was extended in June and August. There had been no ceasefire in Yemen since 2016.

The United Nations classifies the war and its effects as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. According to the UN, several hundred thousand people have lost their lives since the beginning of the conflict, most of them through indirect consequences of the fighting.

jj/fab (dpa, afp)


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