UN special envoys arrived in Yemen on Wednesday for talks on the reopening of the routes to the Houthi-blocked city, which has proved the most difficult problem to implement in a delicate conflict.
Swedish diplomat Hans Grundberg flew into the capital, Sanaa, held by Iran-backed Houthi militias since 2014, less than a week after the ceasefire was renewed for a second period of two months.
The Arab world’s poorest country is witnessing Yemen, which the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
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Grundberg praised the ceasefire extension, calling it “a positive sign of the parties’ seriousness in maintaining and enforcing the conflict”.
“The Yemenis have seen the tangible benefits of the ceasefire. We have seen a significant positive change, and we have a responsibility to safeguard it and fulfill its potential for peace in Yemen,” he told reporters.
Grundberg said he would meet with the Houthi leadership to discuss proposals to reopen roads in Yemen’s third-largest city, Taiz, which has been largely cut off since 2015.
“I hope we will have constructive discussions on our proposal to reopen roads in Taiz and other governorates, as well as economic and humanitarian measures and the way forward,” he said.
The resumption of commercial flights from Sana’a and allowing fuel ships in the lifeline port of Hodeida were also one of the terms of the negotiating Taiz, which is also in the hands of the Houthis.
Flights from Sanaa to Amman and Cairo have resumed and tankers have docked at Hodeida in an effort to ease fuel shortages in Sanaa and elsewhere.
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