Grundberg to #UNSC: "Since the start of the truce, there has been a significant reduction in violence and civilian casualties& no confirmed airstrikes inside #Yemen or cross-border attacks emanating from Yemen."
— @OSE_Yemen (@OSE_Yemen) April 14, 2022
‘Turning point toward peace’
The UN envoy saw the move as “a moment” of respite and possibility, for pursuing peace.
He noted that “continued commitment” is required from the Saudi-led coalition which backs the internationally recognized Government, Houthi opposition forces, the region as a whole, and the international community, to ensure that it holds and becomes “a turning point toward peace.”
Since the start of the truce on 4 April, he pointed to “encouraging signs”, such as a significant reduction in violence and civilian casualties; no confirmed airstrikes; more fuel flowing through the Hudaydah region’s ports; and preparations for commercial flights from Sana’a airport – controlled by the Houthis – for the first time since 2016.
However, reports of military operations around Marib must be addressed through the truce mechanisms – or risk setting the stage for a new escalation.
“I want to remind the parties that the foundational principle of the truce is that the respite it offers should be used to make progress toward ending the war, not to escalate it,” said Mr. Grundberg.
“The parties have publicly committed to de-escalation, and this is what the Yemeni people and the international community expect of them”.
Benefits of agreement
Easing restrictions on the movement of goods and civilians is a priority for the truce.
“Flights to and from Sana’a airport need to resume and we are working with partners to make this happen as quickly as possible,” said the UN envoy.
Another priority is for an agreement to open roads in heavily-contested Taiz.
“It is imperative that serious work is done in Taiz to open roads, allowing civilians on either side of the frontlines, both in the city and the surrounding areas, to go to work and school, and facilitate trade”.
He flagged that the truce – a result of the parties’ commitments and “longstanding and tireless efforts” of Yemeni civic actors, youth groups, and women peace activists to stop the war – “it is still fragile and temporary,”
“We need to work collectively and intensively…to ensure it does not unravel,” spelled out the UN official, pledging to continue engaging the parties to implement, strengthen and extend it.
He explained that during his recent visit to Muscat and Sana’a, the Houthi-held capital, he received “reaffirmed commitment to all aspects of implementing the truce” while discussing next steps on strengthening and extending it.
‘Pivot’ towards peace
The fragile agreement offers a “rare opportunity to pivot toward a peaceful future,” Mr. Grundberg said, describing the coming weeks as “a test of the parties’ commitments to uphold their obligations,” and build trust and confidence
Yemen will need the international community’s support as much as ever to find an inclusive, peaceful and sustainable end to the conflict.
“I will need your redoubled efforts and support during this critical period,” he stated.