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Britain Criticizes Houthis Ahead of 3rd Extension of UN Truce

Britain Criticizes Houthis Ahead of 3rd Extension of UN Truce

Sunday, 2 October, 2022 - 06:30
Houthi fighters at an event (EPA)

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly accused the Houthis of obstructing the truce extension talks and depriving the Yemenis of peace.

In a statement published by the British Foreign Office, Saturday Cleverly said Yemen must not return to conflict, cautioning that the truce ends on Sunday, “but the Houthis continue to endanger the talks and deny Yemenis a peaceful future.”

Yemeni officials criticized the UN envoy for not holding any meeting of the Road Opening Committee during the second extension period in the past two months, which is the only point that had not seen any progress since April 2022, when the truce was first announced.

The British Foreign Secretary called on the Houthis to engage constructively with UN Special Envoy Hans Grundberg’s efforts to “broker an extension to the truce, so that serious dialogue about achieving a peaceful, inclusive and Yemeni-led future can take place.”

“The truce has brought tangible benefits to both Yemenis and regional security, and we welcome the Government of Yemen’s commitment to extend it further if an extension can be agreed,” he stated.

The Minister commended the Yemeni government’s commitment to continue delivering the benefits of the truce by enabling Yemeni people to move more freely and safely around Yemen, to access fuel throughout the country, fly in and out of Yemen to visit families and access healthcare, and through restarting payments for civil servants.

He recalled that during the truce period, civilian casualties had fallen dramatically in Yemen, and cross-border attacks by the Houthis into Saudi Arabia and the UAE had stopped.

“The Yemeni people will only experience these benefits beyond Sunday if the parties agree to extend.”

Meanwhile, UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, stressed that extending the humanitarian truce is an urgent humanitarian and political necessity, hinting that the opportunity will not come again.

A source in the Yemeni government confirmed that it had received Saturday an updated proposal from Grundberg to extend and expand the armistice.

The source indicated that the Yemeni government is reviewing the updated proposal and will deal with it positively, based on its keenness and efforts to alleviate the human suffering of all our people in all governorates without any discrimination.

He explained that the government is seeking to expand the benefits of the truce and reach all Yemenis, facilitate their movement, and ensure the payment of salaries to alleviate their suffering caused by the Houthi militia.

According to the source, the Yemeni government spares no effort in cooperating with the Special Envoy to overcome the obstacles created by the Houthi militias, despite Houthis’ failure to fulfill their obligations in lifting the siege on Taiz and stopping the looting of Hodeidah ports revenues.

He stressed the Yemeni government’s call for the Security Council and the international community to pressure the Houthi militias to stop their daily deal violations and engage positively with the Special Envoy’s efforts.

The Yemeni government supports the efforts of the Special Envoy to achieve a comprehensive, just, and sustainable peace based on the three references, namely the Gulf initiative, the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference, and Security Council resolutions, according to the source.

Last week witnessed intense efforts to reach an agreement to extend the UN truce for another six months.

Last Thursday, Grundberg left Sanaa after he met Houthi militia leaders amid efforts to renew the truce in Yemen, without commenting on the condition placed by the group on expanding the ceasefire.

In several tweets, the Office of the Special Envoy announced that Grundberg concluded a visit to Sanaa, where he held intense discussions on how to pay salaries for civil servants as well issues around the ports and airport and to maintain calm on the front lines.

Grundberg emphasized that “the renewal and expansion of the truce is a humanitarian imperative and a political necessity. It is also an opportunity that we cannot afford to waste”.

“We have a chance to build on & expand it. But placing the pursuit of peace over war will require courage & leadership from all sides. If there is a return to war, we might not have this opportunity again for a long time.”

Furthermore, the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced that he over the phone with Grundberg efforts to extend an armistice in Yemen.

In his tweet, Blinken expressed his strong support for the Envoy’s efforts to extend and expand the UN-led truce in Yemen on October 02.

“I also expressed our concerns with recent Houthi actions that obstruct the truce’s benefits from reaching millions of Yemenis.”

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