The UN Security Council on Thursday welcomed the Aug. 2 renewal of the truce in Yemen for two additional months, and called on parties in the country to intensify negotiations toward expanding it into a durable ceasefire.
The UNSC also urged the Houthis to be more flexible and open roads in and around Taiz governorate, which has been under siege for over seven years.
Council members commended “regional partners” for backing the truce, and asked for their continued support.
They also praised Yemen’s internationally recognized government for facilitating the flow of fuel into Hodeidah port, and flights to and from Sanaa airport.
But they condemned all attacks that threatened to derail the truce, including the July 24 attack on a residential neighborhood in Taiz, that injured a dozen children, all under the age of 10.
In a statement, the UNSC also expressed concern over civilian deaths caused by landmines, and urged the authorities to “prioritize the needs of the Yemeni population and to compromise and choose peace over violence,” in line with international law and the principle of the protection of civilians.
Opening roads in Taiz remains “a humanitarian imperative to ease the suffering in Yemen’s third largest city,” and the truce represents the “most significant opportunity for peace and the protection of civilians that Yemen has witnessed in years,” the statement said.
It is the second renewal of the UN-brokered two-month truce, which came into effect on April 2 and was renewed for the first time in June.
The truce has been hailed for the drastic reduction in hostilities and civilian casualties, along with the resumption of commercial flights from Sanaa airport.
UNSC members stressed that if the truce is fully implemented and then expanded, these benefits would increase, eventually leading to a comprehensive settlement of the country’s war.
“The truce has provided a stable foundation to progress with talks on economic and security tracks, and to embark on in-depth and inclusive discussions on the political track,” they said.
Hans Grundberg, the UN special envoy for Yemen, also considered the truce extension an opportunity to pivot toward long-lasting, sustainable peace with a nationwide ceasefire.
He added that the government and the Houthis had given him “substantive comments” on a proposal he had drafted for an expanded truce agreement.
UNSC members reiterated their support for Grundberg, and urged Yemeni parties to “seize this moment to urgently intensify negotiations” aimed at a comprehensive agreement and an expanded truce “which could be translated into a durable ceasefire and increased benefits for Yemenis, including through expanded salary and pension payments and increased freedom of movement.”
They also underscored the importance of a minimum 30 percent participation by women in decision-making, in line with the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference and this year’s UNSC resolution 2624.