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Yemeni Official to Asharq Al-Awsat: Ball Now in UN, Houthi Court

Yemeni Official to Asharq Al-Awsat: Ball Now in UN, Houthi Court

Wednesday, 22 June, 2022 - 07:00
Yemeni Foreign Minister Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak meets his Norwegian counterpart Anniken Huitfeldt. (Saba)

The ball is now in the court of the United Nations and Iran-backed Houthi militias, said a source from the Yemeni government delegation that was negotiating the reopening of routes to the besieged Taiz province.


Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on condition of anonymity, the source warned that the Houthis were trying to waste time and avoid implementing their commitments to the second nationwide truce, just as they did during the first ceasefire.


The truce was adopted in April and extended for another two months when it expired in early June.


"We agreed to the proposal submitted by the UN envoy to the government team and the Houthi delegation, although it fell short of our demands," said the source when commenting on the UN-sponsored negotiations between the government and Houthis about Taiz that were held in the Jordanian capital Amman.


He said the UN proposed reopening three roads suggested by the Houthis, one proposed by the government, which is "the bare minimum for us," and another between the governorates of Dhale and Ibb.


The Houthi delegation said, however, that it did not have the final say over the issue and it lied in the hands of their leaders in Sanaa, added the source.


The UN envoy consequently traveled with them to Sanaa to receive a response. He then headed to New York, revealing that he has yet to receive a reply from the militias.


The government source warned that everyone, including the envoy, fear the Houthis would run out the clock of the second truce without implementing any of their commitment in reopening roads, whether in Taiz or other provinces.


"We ended the Amman consultations on June 7, and more than 12 days later, there still is no response to the commitment to opening the roads," he lamented.


Asked about his expectations for the coming period and whether the Houthis will fulfill the UN efforts to achieve peace and open roads, the source replied: "The Houthis will not allow any breakthrough unless the international community, the Arab coalition, and legitimate authorities heavily pressure them."


The source asserted that despite receiving what they asked for, such as extending the truce, reopening Sanaa airport, allowing the entrance of oil to derivatives to Hodeidah port, and permitting travel via passports issued by the militias, the Houthis have failed to implement any pledges related to reopening of routes.


"This is a humanitarian matter, but unfortunately, the militias are exploiting it for political gain."


Meanwhile, Yemeni Foreign Minister Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak condemned the Houthis for attacking Taiz with armed drones.


Their violation of the truce is a sign that they will not yield to peace, he said after talks with his Norwegian counterpart Anniken Huitfeldt at the Oslo Forum on Monday.


He called for exerting pressure on the militias to make them commit to the truce and comply with demands to achieve peace in Yemen, reported the Saba news agency.


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