UNITED NATIONS (AP) – With just two weeks left in a two-month ceasefire in Yemen, the UN envoy to the war-torn country said Tuesday that talks with the warring sides are going on right now and he hopes the truce will be extended.
But Hans Grundberg was wary of making any prediction, saying that agreement on an extension would depend on the talks that he and his office are having with the warring parties.
“During these past six weeks we have seen considerable positive impact on the daily lives of many Yemenis,” he told reporters after a closed briefing to the UN Security Council. “First, and most importantly, the truce is holding in military terms.”
The two-month truce is the first nationwide ceasefire in the war launched by the Saudi-led coalition in 2015.
Grundberg said that the truce between the warring sides in Yemen is holding in military terms and it has had a considerable positive impact on the daily lives of many Yemenis.
“Fighting has sharply reduced with no aerial attacks emanating from Yemen across its borders and no confirmed airstrikes inside Yemen,” he told reporters.
“Front lines across Yemen have quietened down significantly, and there are reports of increasing humanitarian access, including in some frontline locations that had previously been extremely difficult to access,” he said.
Grundberg announced on April 1 that he had secured the truce between the warring sides, seven years after Saudi Arabia and its regional allies launched a devastating military campaign against Yemen in response to the fall of the former, Riyadh-friendly Yemeni regime.
The war has killed hundreds of thousands of people across Yemen and turned the entire country into the scene of what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, but it has failed to re-install the Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi regime.
Since the beginning of the truce, Sana’a has censured Riyadh for repeated violations and warned the kingdom that the Yemeni armed forces will not sit idly by in the face of continuous Saudi-led raids on their country.
Despite his positive assessment of the implementation of the truce, Grundberg also acknowledged continued fighting which has led to civilian casualties, saying, “We continue to see concerning reports of continued fighting involving incidents of civilian casualties despite overall reduction.”