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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

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Two-month Yemen Truce: Reactions and Outcomes
Eight years after the Saudi-led coalition's aggression on Yemen and amid President Joe Biden administration's efforts to make peace in Yemen, the UN envoy to Yemen crisis Hans Grundberg on Friday announced that the Yemeni sides agreed to a UN-proposed two-month ceasefire and that it would take effect on Saturday morning.

The announcement of the ceasefire came as attacks that amount to war crimes by the Arab coalition against the already impoverished Yemeni people have been launched over the past seven years. In addition to Western-backed military action on civilians, since 2016, the Arab alliance launched a special plan imposing sanctions and a military siege on Sana'a-based Yemeni National Salvation Government (NSG), which resulted in a major famine and devastation in the country. 

Ceasefire agreement details 
The ceasefire agreement announced by the UN envoy runs for two months from April 2 to June 2, and can be extended. The purpose of this ceasefire is to provide an appropriate environment for a peaceful solution to the crisis, not to give the parties an opportunity to rebuild their strength. 

According to the agreement, the ceasefire will include the cessation of all ground, air and sea military operations inside and outside Yemen and the cessation of all ongoing operations on the ground. Also, 18 ships carrying oil derivatives will arrive in Al-Hudaidah port in southern Yemen over two months. During this period, Sana’a international airport will resume its activities in a limited way and will have two commercial flights to Jordan and Egypt every week. 

As soon as the ceasefire is implemented, the UN envoy invites the warring parties to meet to open the roads in Taizz and other provinces to facilitate the movement of civilians. The parties to the conflict also would mull proposals for further steps to end the war with the UN envoy, according to the document. 

The truce is extendable with the agreement of the parties. The two sides will also name "linking officers" for cooperation with the office of the special envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Yemen on all aspects of the ceasefire, including the military aspects, to ensure compliance with the ceasefire. Although there will be no independent oversight, the office of the UN envoy will coordinate with the parties to help enforce the truce. 

Saudi Arabia and Ansarullah reactions to ceasefire 
The announcement of cessation of conflict on the eve of the holy month of Ramadan drew reactions from Yemen's revolutionary Ansarullah Movement and Saudi Arabia as the two main parties of the agreement. Saudi foreign ministry published a statement welcoming the truce. An official statement from the Saudi foreign ministry said that Riyadh welcomes the announcement of the two-month ceasefire in Yemen by the UN envoy, which would halt all military operations inside Yemen and on the Yemeni-Saudi border. The statement also hailed the UN envoy's pro-peace efforts and stressed that these efforts are in line with Saudi Arabia's initiative to end the crisis in Yemen, which was raised in March 2021. 

On the opposite side, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a member of Yemen's Supreme Political Council, in a tweet said that the ceasefire would gain its validity by implementation, calling on the Yemeni people to be "vigilant and exercise caution." 

Moreover, Mohammad Abdul Salam, Sana'a's chief negotiator, welcomed the truce that at least temporarily ends conflict.

Arab and European actors welcome ceasefire 
In addition to Saudi Arabia and Yemen, other regional and international actors reacted positively. The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hoped this would be a prelude to permanent peace in Yemen. 

"This shows that even if the conditions for achieving a goal are impossible, peace will be possible if there is a will," he continued. 

In addition to Guterres, Turki al-Maliki, a spokesman for Arab aggression coalition, said the alliance fully supports the initiative and is ready to work with the UN to create an appropriate atmosphere to start a political process for lasting peace in Yemen. 

Internationally, President Biden, though without mentioning the destructive role of Riyadh in the devastating war, praised the Saudi leadership's help to the truce. 

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