UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg concluded on Thursday a one-day visit to Yemen’s Houthi-run capital, Sanaa. During his visit, Grundberg met with the head of the Houthi ruling council, Mahdi al-Mashat.
Grundberg left Sanaa without commenting on the conditions placed by Houthis on expanding the humanitarian and military truce in Yemen, which expires next Sunday.
The UN-brokered truce between the Yemeni government and Iran-backed Houthi militias went into force on April 2 and was later renewed twice through Oct. 2.
Currently, the UN is racing against time to persuade the Yemeni warring parties to extend the truce for an extra six months.
In addition to extending the cease-fire agreement, the United Nations also seeks to expand its provisions.
Fears are growing regarding Grundberg’s inability to convince Houthis of his plan to expand and improve the terms of the armistice.
Nevertheless, western and US diplomats hope that the UN envoy will succeed in his mission.
Paving the way for launching talks and reaching a comprehensive settlement for the conflict in Yemen hinges on Grundberg’s success in convincing the Houthis.
Houthi media reported that al-Mashat met Grundberg and his accompanying delegation.
“UN efforts to expand the truce were discussed during the meeting,” they affirmed.
According to the Houthi version of the official Saba News Agency, al-Mashat reviewed with Grundberg Houthi demands for the payment of employee salaries and pensions and the abolition of restrictions on Sanaa airport and the port of Hodeidah.
Grundberg was told the rebels would “not accept the expansion” unless the salaries of all state employees and the pensions of retired state staff were paid.
Before heading to Sanaa, the UN envoy had visited Riyadh and met with the leaders of the internationally recognized government and Saudi officials. He also paid a visit to Oman to meet there with Omani officials.