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UN: Yemen Return to War Real Threat    09/28 06:07

   

   CAIRO (AP) -- The U.N. envoy for Yemen warned that the risk of a return to 
fighting "is real," urging warring parties to accept a longer extension of the 
current ceasefire due to expire next month.

   Hans Grundberg's stark warning late Tuesday came after he met in Saudi 
Arabia's capital, Riyadh, with Rashad al-Alimi, head of the internationally 
recognized presidential council, and in Oman's capital of Muscat with Mohammed 
Abdul-Salam, the chief negotiator of the Houthi rebels. He also met with Saudi 
and Omani officials to push for a cease-fire extension.

   Grundberg said in a statement he discussed a U.N. proposal to renew the 
truce for a longer time "to give Yemenis the opportunity to make progress on a 
wider basket of priorities."

   "We are at a crossroads where the risk of a return to war is real and I am 
urging the parties to choose an alternative that prioritizes the needs of the 
Yemeni people," he said.

   The efforts to renew the cease-fire have come as the two sides held military 
parades in territories under their control. The internationally recognized 
government held parades on the anniversary of 1962 uprising against the Imamate 
rule in northern Yemen.

   The most notable parade was held by the Houthis last week in the capital of 
Sanaa, where they showcased a variety of weapons -- including missiles and 
drones -- which resemble those produced by Iran, their main backer in the war. 
The Houthi parades were a celebration of their seizure of the capital Sanaa in 
Sep. 2014, which triggered the current civil war.

   The U.N. envoy did not offer details on his proposal.

   Nabil Jamel, a government negotiator, said the U.N. proposal includes ways 
to pay civilian servants in Houthi-held territories and reopen roads of 
blockaded cities, including Taiz. He did not elaborate.

   Reopening the roads of Taiz and other provinces are part of the 
U.N.-brokered truce, which took effect in early April and was extended twice, 
the second time until October 2. Both sides reported violations of the 
cease-fire. The truce established a partial reopening of Sanaa airport to 
commercial flights, and allowed fuel vessels to the port of Hodeida.

   Abdul-Salam, the Houthi official in Oman, called for a permanent opening of 
Sanaa airport and the Red Sea ports in Hodeida, along with paying salaries and 
pensions, before engaging in political talks.

   "There is no seriousness or credibility for any talk about peace in Yemen 
before the implementation of these urgent humanitarian issues," he said on 
Twitter.

   The truce has been the longest lull of fighting in Yemen's war, now in its 
eighth year. It has brought relief for Yemenis who have suffered from a decade 
of political turmoil and conflict.

   Yemen's brutal civil war began in 2014, when the Houthis seized Sanaa and 
much of northern Yemen and forced the government into exile. A Saudi-led 
coalition entered the war in early 2015 to try restore the internationally 
recognized government to power.

   The conflict has created one of the world's worst humanitarian crises and 
over the years turned into a regional proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. 
More than 150,000 people have been killed, including over 14,500 civilians.

 
 
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