Fighting parties in Yemen agree to a two-month ceasefire

After more than a year of shuttle diplomacy around the Middle East, President Biden’s special envoy for Yemen, Tim Lenderking, said a UN-brokered, two-month ceasefire had been agreed by warring parties in Yemen.

“This is a positive moment for Yemen, and we need to seize it,” Lenderking said on Saturday in an interview with CBS News.

The deal, reached by the Saudi leadership and the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, was expected to take effect on Saturday, in time for the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The warring parties have agreed to halt all military operations in Yemen, including cross-border attacks.

In recent years, the Houthis rebels have been successful in launching multiple missile and drone attacks against neighboring oil-rich Saudi and Emarati oil production facilities.

Most parties involved were quick to welcome the truth. In a statement issued by the White House on Friday, President Biden called it a “proposal for the Yemeni people.”

Less enthusiastic, however, were the Houthi rebels. Prominent Houthi official Mohammed Ali al-Houthi said on Twitter that his “credibility would be in implementation.”

Lenderking was sure that the Houthi could not use the armistice to re-arm themselves. He also said the US had not “been gentle with a particular party.”

“I think what you saw yesterday was a compromise that came out in a very dramatic way, in a way that has not been seen for years, and there is no diminishing of our attitude towards the Houthi,” he added. .

Since 2015, the Houthi rebels have been engaged in a brutal conflict with the Saudi-backed Yemeni government. The war has left an estimated 400,000 dead – many, according to the UN, of “indirect causes such as food shortages, health services and infrastructure.” The conflict has left 73% of Yemen’s population of 30 million dependent on aid.

International aid agencies welcome the development. Oxfam, an aid group that has worked in Yemen, hopes that this “will be an opportunity to prioritize the lives of Yemenis, who need this difficult conflict to end, so that they can live in security, their lives recover and rebuild. “

Lenderking hopes “this is not just another truth being called, another agreement being called that has been broken.”

He said the international community “must remain vigilant and focused to help the parties, because there will be decay, help bring it forward, support it.”