The UN envoy for Yemen on Tuesday warned of the risk of more fighting breaking out in Yemen if the warring parties don’t agree to extend the current ceasefire, which is due to expire on October 2.
Fighting has been reported on the ground, and both sides have accused the other of violating the ceasefire. But Saudi airstrikes in Yemen and Houthi attacks inside Saudi Arabia have not been reported for months, marking the longest period of calm since the US-backed Saudi coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015.
UN envoy Hans Grundberg made the warning after holding talks with the Saudi-backed Yemeni presidential council in Riyadh and with Houthi officials in Oman. “We are at a crossroads where the risk of a return to war is real and I am urging the parties to choose an alternative that prioritizes the needs of the Yemeni people,” he said.
The Saudis have eased the blockade on Yemen somewhat as some flights have left Sanaa airport and more fuel ships are entering the Red Sea port of Hodeidah. But the blockade has not been fully lifted, which has long been a demand of the Houthis as a condition for peace talks.
The Saudis are accusing the Houthis of violating the ceasefire by keeping the city of Taiz under siege. The Houthis have opened up some roads to the city under the ceasefire, but are refusing to open the main access road until Saudi-backed militias leave the area.
As the fragile ceasefire has held, war powers resolutions have been introduced in Congress to end US involvement in the war, which would effectively ground the Saudi air force since it relies on US maintenance. Resolutions have been introduced in both the House and the Senate and have over 100 bipartisan cosponsors. Call 1-833-Stop-War to tell your representative in Congress to support the legislation.
The UN estimates that the US-backed war on Yemen and the conditions it has caused have killed at least 377,000 people, more than half of which are children under the age of five.