United Nations, Oct 14 (UiTV/IANS) – UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg has said that the renewal of a truce agreement that has just expired remains possible and called for the engagement of the parties.
The truce in Yemen, first enforced on April 2 and renewed twice till its expiration on October 2, started to alleviate the suffering of Yemeni men and women and offered a truly historic opportunity to build trust and to work toward a peaceful settlement of the conflict, he told the Security Council in a briefing on Thursday.
The failure of the parties to agree on the renewal of the truce has caused new uncertainty for the country and a heightened risk of war, he warned.
“The parties now have a choice before them. They can choose to preserve and build on the truce and take the path toward peace as is expected from them by the Yemeni population. Otherwise, a return to war would mean renewed and increasing suffering for the civilian population,” said Grundberg.
“The choice to go back to war would also have destabilising effects for the whole region. And should the cycles of violence and escalation start, it could be long before a window for peace will open again. Yemen urgently needs to avoid this scenario.”
He added that he worked hard to try to save the truce, Xinhua news agency reported.
Efforts to not only extend, but also to expand and build on the elements of the truce have been ongoing since early July. On September 18, he shared a proposal for a six-month extension and the expansion of the truce elements with the parties. And in the weeks leading up to the October 2 deadline, he intensified discussions. He subsequently shared a revised proposal on October 1, said Grundberg.
“I appreciate the position of the government of Yemen on engaging positively with my proposal, and I regret that Ansar Allah came up with additional demands that could not be met,” he said, using the official name of the rebel Houthi movement.
“As I continue to work with both sides to find solutions, I urge them to demonstrate the leadership and flexibility required to reach an extended and expanded agreement.”
Since the expiration of the truce, he continued efforts to engage the parties as well as regional and international partners on options for the renewal of the truce, Grundberg added.
“I have just returned from visits to Abu Dhabi and Muscat where I held important discussions to explore ways forward in close coordination with Yemen’s neighbours. I personally believe that there is still a possibility for the parties to come to an agreement,” he said.