The UN special envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, is still pushing the warring parties to reach a broader peace deal after a six-month ceasefire expired on Sunday, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
Grundberg warned that now that the truce between the Houthis and the US-backed Saudi-led coalition collapsed, there is a risk of a significant escalation in the war. “Any small incident could spark something that could have devastating consequences,” he told Reuters in Amman.
Grundberg said the two sides failed to reach a deal because they were far apart on a peace deal that he put forward. “So I would urge all sides to exercise restraint and allow discussions that we have ongoing to bear fruit and… move Yemen out of the violence we have seen for the last seven years,” he said.
Under the ceasefire, the Saudis allowed a limited number of flights in and out of the Sanaa airport and allowed more fuel ships to dock in the Red Sea port of Hodeidah. But the Houthis have long maintained that they want a full lifting of the blockade as a precondition for political talks.
For their part, the Saudis and the Riyadh-based Yemeni government wanted the Houthis to open more roads around the city of Taiz. The Houthis opened some under the ceasefire but refused to open the main access road until Saudi-backed militias leave the area. The Houthis were also calling for the payment of civil servants, but a deal wasn’t reached on that issue.
While there was fighting on the ground, the six-month ceasefire brought the longest period of calm since the US-backed coalition intervened in Yemen back in 2015. During that time, no Saudi airstrikes were reported in Yemen. Since the ceasefire collapsed, there’s been more fighting on the ground, but as of Tuesday night, there have been no reports of airstrikes.
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. The US-backed coalition regularly bombed civilian targets in Yemen, and civilian casualties spiked earlier this year right before the ceasefire was reached in March.