UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Yemen’s warring parties on Monday to refrain from any provocations that could escalate violence. The move follows the failure to extend a nationwide cease-fire and to engage with each other to renew the truce.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the secretary-general is disappointed that the legitimate government and Iran-backed Houthi militias didn’t reach an agreement before the Oct. 2 deadline. But he stressed: "We in no way see it as the end of the road."
The initial two-month truce agreed to on April 2 and extended twice brought the longest lull in fighting since the devastating war began in 2014. The failure to renew it for an even longer period as the UN sought has raised fears of renewed clashes and a worsening of the already dire humanitarian situation.
Dujarric said UN special envoy Hans Grundberg is still in negotiations with the government and the Houthis and will continue to explore "options that are acceptable to both parties."
Last Friday, Guterres urged both sides to prioritize the national interests of the Yemeni people, expand the truce and "choose peace for good." His statement followed a stark warning three days earlier from Grundberg that the risk of a return to fighting "is real."
Dujarric said there’s still time for the parties to "do what they need to do to benefit the people of Yemen."
"The truce has directly benefited Yemeni civilians," he said. "Major military activity stopped. Civilian casualties have dropped significantly. Fuel imports through Hodeidah ports eased shortages, and international commercial flights out of Sanaa airport to Amman and other destinations have resumed."