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Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat
Aden - Ali Rabih

Yemen Insists on Ending Taiz Blockade, Achieving Peace According to the References

UN envoy Hans Grundberg speaks at the Security Council session (UN)

The Yemeni government renewed its call to the international community to pressure the Houthi militias to end the Taiz siege and abide by all the ceasefire terms.

Yemen's representative at the UN, Abdullah al-Saadi, affirmed the government's keenness to achieve a comprehensive and sustainable peace to end the conflict and support the efforts of the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General to Yemen Hans Grundberg.

Speaking at the Security Council's session on the developments in Yemen, the US Permanent Representative, Linda Thomas Greenfield, said there is a reason for hope thanks to the extension of the truce, describing it as "the best opportunity for peace."

However, she noted that difficult work lies ahead, drawing attention to President Joe Biden's trip to the region next month, calling for taking advantage of this unique moment to consolidate recent gains and lay the foundation for a long-awaited political solution.

"We can and must capitalize on this unique moment to solidify recent gains and lay the groundwork for a long-awaited political resolution to the conflict," she asserted.

The Envoy described the next two months as "critical to long-term peace efforts," adding: "We urge all parties to cooperate fully with Special Envoy Grundberg as he builds on the truce to launch a comprehensive and inclusive political process."

Grundberg expressed optimism about the truce, saying it had been holding for two and half months, which seemed unimaginable at the beginning of the year.

He touched on the achievements of his office during the past month, detailing the benefits of maintaining the truce.

Grundberg said he awaits Houthis' response to his proposal to lift the siege on Taiz, urging them to reply "without delay."

Waiting for the Houthis

The UN envoy expressed fears of the collapse of the truce, saying recent weeks have shown the ceasefire's fragility and that implementation delays might threaten to unravel it in its entirety.

"Resorting to transactionalism, threatening to condition the implementation of one element of the truce against another, and using escalatory media rhetoric undermines the truce."

Grundberg referred to the contentious issues that have emerged during recent discussions, such as revenue management, civil sector salary payments, travel documents, and a more durable ceasefire.

He stressed that recent discussions included the "need to transform the truce into a durable ceasefire with an outlook to longer-term security arrangements; and an urgent call for the payment of public sector salaries and the management of revenues, monetary policy coordination, and reconstruction."

"Over the next month and a half, I will pursue two main lines of effort. First, I will work with the parties to ensure the implementation and consolidation of all the elements of the truce, including the opening of roads in Taiz and other governorates. Second, I will work to achieve more durable solutions to pressing economic and security needs," he asserted.

The Yemeni representative described the truce as a step toward a comprehensive ceasefire and the resumption of consultations to reach a political settlement based on the three references represented by the Gulf initiative and its executive mechanism, the outcomes of the comprehensive National Dialogue Conference, and the relevant Security Council resolutions.

Saadi said that the decision of the Presidential Leadership Council to extend the truce for two months was based on its rejection of the use of humanitarian needs as leverage.

However, the Houthis continue to renege on their commitments, said the diplomat, adding that they have planted landmines indiscriminately, violate the truce daily, and are using the Safer oil tanker as a bargaining chip.

He accused the militias of continuing to renounce their commitments and obstructing international efforts to move forward.

The Yemeni envoy referred to the intransigence of the Houthis on Taiz, saying they seized over YR90 billion from taxes and customs revenues of oil derivatives in Hodeidah port and refused to pay the salaries of public sector employees.

Saadi added that the Yemeni government has adhered to restraint, despite the insurgents’ daily violations on various fronts.

He stressed that their repeated violations of the UN truce put the international community and the Security Council before a test, calling for pressuring the militias to respond to peace efforts.

"Peace cannot be achieved without a genuine, true partner," said the envoy.

Reminder to end the siege

Saadi said that more than four million people are still displaced from Taiz, describing the Houthi siege as "a war crime, a crime against humanity, and a flagrant violation of laws and international conventions."

He accused the Houthis of recruiting children in their summer centers, describing it as a "flagrant violation of childhood rights, national laws and legislation, and international treaties."

He said that, unfortunately, the international community remains silent, ignoring the dangers of this crime on Yemen, the region, and the world.

Saadi reiterated the Yemeni government's full support for the UN efforts to address the issues of the Safer oil tanker to avoid the impending environmental, humanitarian, and economic catastrophe.

The Council must act swiftly to ensure the Houthis abide by the United Nations plan, he said, adding that the international community needs to fund and implement the plan to avoid a disaster that will cost billions of dollars.

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