AL-MUKALLA: The Iran-backed Houthis said that they would not renew the UN-brokered truce in Yemen, slamming international calls, mainly from US President Joe Biden, to the movement to adhere to the truce and open roads in the besieged city of Taiz.
The movement’s Supreme Political Council blasted the outcomes of Biden’s visit to the region that called them to strengthen the truce, claiming that the calls “affect the sovereignty, security and stability of Yemen,” and pledged not to extend the truce.
“The SPC deplored the talk about understandings about extending the truce, stressing that the truce, which the side of the aggression did not abide by the implementation of its terms, represented a shocking and disappointing experience that cannot be repeated in the future,” the movement said in a statement carried by their official media.
The joint Saudi and American statement that came out on Saturday after the US president’s meeting with Saudi officials called on the Houthis to implement all of the truce’s terms, including ending their siege of Taiz, Yemen’s third largest city, stressing that the truce has achieved “the longest period of peace in Yemen in six years.”
Other American officials such as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also asked the Houthis to respect the truce and open roads in Taiz and the other provinces.
In addition to saying they were not going to extend the truce, the Houthis responded to the calls by threatening to launch deadly attacks across Yemen, mainly in the central province of Marib, to break what they call “the blockade” and seize control of oil, gas and electricity facilities in Marib.
“To Biden, our country will not be left under siege and occupation. Our oil and gas resources will not be left in the hands of thieves and corrupt people,” Hussein Al-Ezzi, a Houthi leader, said on Twitter.
The UN-brokered truce came into effect on April 2 and was renewed for another two months in June.
The truce has led to a significant reduction in violence and allowed the resumption of commercial flights from Sanaa airport and fuel ships to Hodeidah port.
The truce suffered a major blow after the Houthis refused to open main roads in Taiz and alternately suggested opening a small and old road into the city, a proposal that was rejected by the Yemeni government.
Yemen army generals believe that sporadic attacks by the Houthis and their repositioning and mobilization of forces and military equipment outside key cities such as Marib and Taiz show that they are preparing for new military operations when the truce expires.
Yemen’s army has said that eight soldiers were killed and nine others wounded in Houthi attacks, accusing the Houthis of committing 188 violations during the past three days in Hodeidah, Taiz, Marib and Hajjah.
Yemen’s Foreign Minister Ahmed Awadh bin Mubarak said that he discussed with the US Yemen envoy Tim Lenderking on Sunday achieving peace in Yemen and ending the Houthi siege on the city of Taiz.
“I reiterated the centrality of the besieged #Taiz issue. I explained that Taiz can’t be left behind and the #Houthis must end their atrocities against the populated city,” the Yemeni minister tweeted.