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
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.