Yemen’s warring sides have failed to reach an agreement to extend a nationwide cease-fire, the U.N. said Sunday, endangering the longest lull in fighting since the country’s bloody civil war began.
In a statement, the U.N.’s envoy to Yemen called on all sides to refrain from acts of provocation as the talks continue, after the deadline of Oct. 2 for extending the agreement was missed.
The top U.N. envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg told the U.N. Security Council in mid-August that failure to extend the truce “would lead to renewed cycles of escalation and violence.”
Yemen’s civil war erupted in 2014, when the Houthis descended from their northern enclave and took over the capital, forcing the government to flee to the south before its exile in Saudi Arabia. A Saudi-led coalition — then backed by the United Sates — entered the war in early 2015 to try to restore the government to power. Since then, the conflict has turned into a proxy war between regional foes Saudi Arabia and Iran, which backs the Houthis.
April’s truce had originally established a partial opening of the Sanaa airport and the Red Sea port of Hodeida. 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.
Image Credit: Ansar Allah Media via AP