Chairman of the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council Dr. Rashad al-Alimi described the Iran-backed Houthi militias as “hostile to peace” after they thwarted United Nations attempts to extend the nationwide truce.
The truce will not be extended for a third time in spite of international and regional efforts.
Al-Alimi met with UN envoy to Yemen Hans Grundberg in Riyadh on Sunday
He stressed the presidential council and legitimate government’s commitment to fair and sustainable peace based on the national, regional and international references.
He underscored the need to intensify international efforts to pressure the Houthis to seriously deal with peace efforts and prioritize the interests of the Yemeni people over their own and Iran.
Talks with Grundberg highlighted the legitimate government’s efforts to ease the humanitarian suffering of the people throughout the country, even in regions held by the militias, reported Yemen’s state news agency (Saba).
Yemen’s warring sides failed to reach an agreement to extend the truce, announced the UN on Sunday.
In a statement, Grundberg called on all sides to refrain from acts of provocation as the talks continue, after the deadline of October 2 for extending the agreement was missed.
The UN-backed truce initially took effect in April, and raised hopes for a longer pause in fighting as Yemen’s war entered in its eighth year.
Grundberg said he “regrets that an agreement has not been reached today.” He did not call out the Houthis by name for failing to agree to his proposal but thanked the legitimate government for “engaging positively” in talks to extend the ceasefire. He called on leaders to continue to endeavor to reach an agreement.
“I urge them to fulfill their obligation to the Yemeni people to pursue every avenue for peace," he said.
Foreign Minister Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak said that the Houthis had obstructed the truce and gone against the interest of the Yemeni people.
“The government made many concessions to extend the truce," he said.
The truce had originally established a partial opening of the Sanaa airport and the Red Sea port of Hodeidah. The ensuing months have seen flights start again from the capital’s airport to Jordan and Egypt.
It also called for lifting a Houthi blockade on Taiz, the country’s third largest city. But little progress has been made there, after talks aimed at reopening local roads stalled.
Another sticking point is how salaries of public employees will be funded, many of whom have not been compensated for years.
The United States had expressed its concern over the Houthi rejection to renew the truce.
In a tweet, US Ambassador Steven Fagin said: “I am concerned about the lack of progress in securing a truce extension. I call on all the parties not to squander the progress of the last six months and to prioritize the Yemeni people accepting an extension and expansion of the truce.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah to “welcome Saudi support for extending the UN truce to bring relief to millions of Yemenis.”
The Arab League warned of the consequences of failing to extend the truce, saying the “dangerous” humanitarian situation in Yemen is an “urgent priority”.
The Houthis must prioritize the interest of Yemen and positively engage in efforts to extend the truce, urged Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit.