LONDON: A two-month truce agreed between parties to the Yemeni conflict at the start of April is “broadly holding,” UN Envoy Hans Grundberg told the Security Council on Thursday.
He said no confirmed airstrikes or cross-border attacks had been reported, but he urged all sides to commit to bringing an end to the seven-year conflict.
“I want to thank the Yemeni government for their leadership and for making compromises to reach this agreement,” Grundberg told the UN Security Council, thanking Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Oman for their efforts.
“What we now need is work on the political front. The truce is the result of the parties’ commitment but it is temporary, and we must take this rare moment to pivot towards a peaceful future.”
Grundberg, China, India, Russia, the UK and the US welcomed the $3 billion aid package announced by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which will see $2 billion put into the Yemeni Central Bank.
A further $1 billion supplied by the Saudis will be put towards projects benefiting the Yemeni people.
Having been agreed on April 1, the truce came into effect the following evening and covers the Houthi militia and the internationally recognized Yemeni government.
Abdullah Al-Saadi, Yemen’s permanent representative to the UN, urged the UNSC to increase efforts to reduce attacks by the Tehran-backed militia.
“The Houthis want to remain a tool in the hand of Iran. They have used ballistic missiles that have killed civilians and destroyed civilian infrastructure, and we urge the council to play its role as a moral authority and exert pressure on them to respect the peace,” he said. “Our country nonetheless is committed to all provisions of the truce.”
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US ambassador to the UN, urged “movement towards a comprehensive ceasefire,” with her Chinese, Indian and Russian counterparts all echoing her comments to bring the war to an end.
China’s Zhang Jun said: “It is in no one’s interests to resume hostilities in Yemen, and the humanitarian crisis in the country is one of the worst in the world.”
India’s representative TS Tirumurti condemned cross-border attacks against Saudi Arabia last month, saying he “hoped the ceasefire would put an end to the violence and terror.” He added: “India has extended humanitarian aid to Yemen in the past, and we remain committed to this.”
Martin Griffiths, undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said the truce had resulted in civilian casualties falling to their lowest numbers in months, with fuel ships arriving in Hodeidah reducing costs of living.
But Yemenis are “still struggling to survive,” and increased aid is needed so as not to offset “today’s good news,” he added.
“Furthermore, we call on all parties to facilitate access in line with international humanitarian law, and call on Houthi authorities to release two UN staff members that were arrested earlier this year,” he said.
“On top of which, we are seeking the release of five members of staff abducted in February and who have not been seen for 60 days now.”
Representatives from multiple countries noted the “increased optimism” that the ongoing truce was engendering.
Emirati representative Lana Zaki Nusseibeh said she was pleased to see “unprecedented consensus” towards ending the war.
“We express our gratitude towards the efforts of the secretariat of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) to bridge the divide between the Yemeni parties… but renew our condemnation of Houthi terrorist attacks,” she added.
“This delicate agreement brings renewed hope, but we call on regional stakeholders to find a peaceful solution.”