The first national truce in six years coincided with the start of the holy month of Ramadan and includes provisions aimed at improving the free movement of civilians and goods across the war-torn Arab nation.
“A Turning Point for Peace”
The UN envoy saw in this decision “a moment” of respite and possibility to pursue peace.
He noted that “continued commitment” is required from the Saudi-led coalition that supports the internationally recognized government, the Houthi opposition forces, the region as a whole and the international community, to s ensure that it will hold and become “a turning point towards peace”. .”
Since the start of the truce April 4, he pointed to “encouraging signs”, such as a significant reduction in violence and civilian casualties; no confirmed airstrikes; more fuel transiting through ports in the Hudaydah region; and preparations for commercial flights from Sanaa airport – controlled by the Houthis – for the first time since 2016.
Respond to concerns
However, reports of military operations around Marib must be dealt with through the truce mechanisms – or risk setting the stage for further escalation.
“I want to remind the parties that the fundamental principle of the truce is that the respite it provides should be used to make progress towards ending the war, not to worsen it,” Mr. Grundberg said.
“The parties have publicly committed to de-escalation, and that is what the Yemeni people and the international community expect of them”.
Benefits of the deal
Easing restrictions on the movement of goods and civilians is a priority of the truce.
“Flights to and from Sanaa airport must resume and we are working with partners to make this happen as quickly as possible,” the UN envoy said.
Another priority is a deal to open roads in the hotly contested Taiz.
“It is imperative that serious work be done in Taiz to open roadsallowing civilians on both sides of the front lines, both in the city and in the surrounding area, to go to work and school, and to facilitate exchanges”.
He reported that the truce – the result of the parties’ commitments and the “long and tireless efforts” of Yemeni civic actors, youth groups and women peace activists to stop the war – “it’s still fragile and temporary“,
“We must work collectively and intensively…to ensure that it does not collapse,” the UN official said, pledging to continue to engage the parties to implement it, to strengthen and extend it.
He explained that during his recent visit to Muscat and Sanaa, the Houthi-held capital, he received “a reaffirmed commitment to all aspects of the implementation of the truce” while discussing the next steps for the strengthen and prolong it.
“Pivoting” towards peace
Fragile deal offers ‘rare opportunity to pivot to peaceful futureMr Grundberg said, describing the coming weeks as “a test of the parties’ commitments to meet their obligations”, and to build confidence.
More than ever, Yemen will need the support of the international community to find an inclusive, peaceful and lasting solution to the conflict.
“I will need your redoubled efforts and support during this critical time,” he said.
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
Hope for tomorrow
UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths said recent progress is helping to “pave the way” for a better future.
Fewer civilian casualties, more supply ships arriving in Hudaydah and the truce are all positive stepshe said.
In addition, he cited a recently announced $3 billion economic support package which includes fuel and development aid as well as a new $2 billion deposit at the Central Bank of Yemen – jointly provided by the Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – to help stabilize the currency.
“Already, the rial has recovered 25% of its value since this announcement,” explained the senior UN official.
This means that food and other essentials – almost all of which must be imported – should soon become more affordable.
Efforts are also progressing to address the threat posed by the SFO safer, which has been moored off the coast of Yemen in the Red Sea since 2015.
Mr Griffiths, who is also head of humanitarian affairs, explained that if some $80 million could be raised, a new UN proposal could be implemented in May to offload oil from the precarious tanker onto a temporary vessel before replacing the Safer.
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
Millions of people are struggling to stay alive
Meanwhile, humanitarian aid is needed today to keep millions alive.
The UN humanitarian chief said aid agencies were seeking $4.3 billion to help 17.3 million people across the country this year.
He noted that while a March 16 event raised $1.3 billion in pledges — well below what was requested — more is urgently needed.
“Funding remains the biggest challenge,” Griffiths stressed, stressing that food, water, healthcare and support for displaced people will continue to dwindle and eventually come to a halt if they don’t get it. not the funds they need.
“Allowing the aid operation to collapse would run directly counter to the positive momentum we are seeing in the broader efforts to resolve the crisis in Yemen.”.
Despite aid constraints, including difficult access and attempted interference, there have also been some improvements, the relief coordinator said.
He drew attention to a new agreement with local security forces on the west coast facilitating humanitarian movements through the Dhubab checkpoint, describing it as “a long-standing goal” and an analysis of humanitarian needs in 2022 based on new data collected from 333 districts across the country.
“We also appreciate our close collaboration with donors and other stakeholders on access issues, which remains a top priority,” Mr. Griffiths added.
The humanitarian chief, however, recalled that five months after the Houthi authorities arrested two UN staff members in Sanaa, they are still in detention.
And five other staff abducted in February by armed men in Abyan have been forcibly detained for more than 60 days.
“These kinds of incidents are completely unacceptable and the staff must be released,” he said.