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Ceasefire Extension in Yemen Threatened by Houthi Evasiveness

Ceasefire Extension in Yemen Threatened by Houthi Evasiveness

Thursday, 23 April, 2020 - 09:30
Supporters of the Houthi movement shout slogans as they attend a rally in Sanaa, Yemen March 26, 2019. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
London - Badr al-Qahtani

The Arab Coalition’s initiative for a two-week ceasefire in Yemen will soon expire amid Houthi discretion and evasiveness towards taking a step that meets the invitation of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

This comes at a time the Yemeni government and the Coalition have presented an example of positive interaction with international developments.

So far, no statements by the Coalition were released on extending the ceasefire with predictions suggesting that the Yemeni government may request an extension.

“Despite that the ceasefire decision was announced amid Houthi defeats in Marib and Jawf governorates, it was welcomed out of the government’s true keenness to end the war and promote peace,” Yemeni Information Minister Muammar al-Eryani told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“This internationally-welcomed initiative could have been the first step in ending the war in Yemen and preparing for political and military negotiations according to the three main references: The Gulf Initiative, the outcomes of national dialogue and relevant UN resolutions, particularly resolution 2216,” Eryani told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The minister, however, stressed that Houthi coup militias did not heed the initiative and continued to escalate their military operations in Marib, al-Jawf and Al Bayda governorates.

In Marib, Houthis fired rockets on civilian neighborhoods, issued death sentences for four journalists and continued to kidnap political opponents in areas under militia control.

All this, according to Eryani, confirms that Houthis are not serious about peace, but are rather committed to the Iranian agenda in the region.

Instead of heeding the ceasefire call, Houthis put forth a non-negotiable document for a solution in Yemen.

“Houthis aimed to circumvent the Arab Coalition’s call for a two-week truce, open to extension, and looked to escape international pressure by putting the document forth,” Eryani said.

Yemeni political analyst Baraa Shaiban described the Houthi document as a list of wishes and impossible conditions that they submitted to the UN envoy.

“Even the issue of political dialogue with the Yemeni political parties was put in the last clause. This means dialogue under Houthi conditions ... It is closer to a wish list,” Shaiban said.

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