UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg, in his latest UN Security Council briefing, stirred anxiety among Yemenis by announcing plans to expand the humanitarian and military truce in Yemen.
Houthis stand to benefit the most from the improved truce terms, Yemeni politicians told Asharq Al-Awsat, recalling that the Iran-backed group still refuses to lift the siege on Taiz despite more than four months passing since the truce went into effect.
Grundberg told the international body that he was working on extending and expanding the truce based on four factors.
These factors include a clear and transparent mechanism for disbursing the salaries of civil servants and pensioners regularly, unlocking additional roads in Taiz an other governorates, adding new destinations to flights inbound and outbound from the Sanaa International Airport, and regulating the inflow of oil from all of Hodeidah’s ports.
Grundberg also admitted that his efforts have so far failed to convince Houthi militias to end the siege of Taiz. The diplomat indicated that he would continue his efforts in this regard without expressing optimism about achieving any progress considering the Houthis’ continued intransigence.
“The UN envoy’s latest briefing exposes impotence,” said Yemeni academic and political researcher Fares al-Beil, adding that Grundberg does not seem able to define what the next step should be.
“The government is no longer willing to extend a truce in which the Taiz crossings do not open,” explained al-Beil.
“Houthis are still refusing to make any concessions for the sake of the humanitarian situation, while their violations and military preparations continue on the ground.”
“Therefore, proposing an expanded agreement is as if it is an escape from the entitlements of the current truce,” added al-Beil, warning that an expansion of the ceasefire might create a new space for Houthi maneuvering.
According to al-Beil, a truce must only be expanded on the grounds of tangible achievements.
Al-Beil criticized what he described as “vagueness engulfing UN discourse and Grundberg’s briefings.”