Yemen Ceasefire Agreed to, Scheduled to Begin Wednesday

Saudis Also Promise to 'Support' Ceasefire

by Jason Ditz, October 17, 2016

Following calls by US and British officials for a ceasefire in Yemen, the pro-Saudi Hadi government and Shi’ite Houthis have agreed to implement a 72-hour ceasefire, with the possibility of extensions if all goes well. The truce is to begin late Wednesday.

UN officials say the ceasefire will allow for an increase in humanitarian aid deliveries. The pro-Saudi forces conditioned the truce on aid coming into their portion of Taiz. Getting aid into the Houthi parts of the country, by contrast, is more heavily dependent on getting ships through the Saudi naval blockade.

On that count, the Saudis did promise to “support” the ceasefire, but didn’t necessarily say they’ll be participating in it. That could be problematic, as previous ceasefires have often faltered with the Yemeni factions mostly holding their fire, and Saudi bombs raining down throughout.

There is no indication that any sort of peace talks are being planned for the 72-hour ceasefire, and both sides are likely waiting to see if this holds longer than previous efforts. The backing by US and British officials may give a little more momentum to this round, though it remains to be seen if this means the calm will last longer, or just that more effort will be made by both sides to blame the other for the failure.

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