UN Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg arrived on Wednesday in Sanaa to convince Houthi leaders of his proposal to lift the siege on Taiz and open some roads between the governorates.
Earlier, Yemeni government officials and Houthi putschists tried to resolve the Taiz file in two rounds of talks in the Jordanian capital, Amman, yet with no avail.
Fears are growing that Houthi intransigence in this file will lead to torpedoing the existing UN-sponsored truce that was extended to August 2.
Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi on Wednesday threatened during his meeting with coup loyalists from Taiz to resume fighting to control the liberated areas under the control of the Yemeni government.
For his part, Grundberg said he would meet the rebel leadership to discuss proposals for reopening roads into Taiz, Yemen’s third biggest city which has been largely cut off since 2015.
“I hope we will have constructive discussions on our proposal for reopening roads in Taiz and other governorates, as well as economic and humanitarian measures and the way forward,” said Grundberg upon arriving in Sanaa.
“Yemenis have seen the truce’s tangible benefits. We have witnessed a significant positive shift and we have a responsibility to safeguard it and deliver on its potential for peace in Yemen,” he told reporters.
Holding talks on Taiz was one of the terms of the truce, along with resuming commercial flights out of Sana’a and allowing fuel ships into the lifeline port of Hodeida, which is also in Houthi hands.
Grundberg hailed the truce extension, calling it a “positive signal of the parties’ seriousness to uphold and implement the truce.”
Taiz has been under siege since the civil war erupted in Yemen in late 2014. Lifting the blockade would facilitate the movement of citizens and their access to humanitarian aid.
Residents in Taiz have staged repeated protest rallies to demand the acceleration of lifting the siege and clearing landmines on the main roads around the city.
Ending the Taiz siege is the last major term to be fulfilled under the agreement reached by the country's warring parties as part of their truce that came into force in April.