Houthis blame Saudi-led coalition for expiry of Yemen ceasefire

The ceasefire in Yemen that began in April has expired after the warring sides failed to reach an agreement. The Houthis alleged that the Saudi-led coalition had failed to address major humanitarian concerns in the last six months

October 04, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
Foreign Minister of the Houthi-backed administration Hisham Sharaf.

The Houthi-led government in Sanaa, on Monday, October 3, blamed the Saudi-backed coalition for the failure of talks for the extension of the UN-mediated truce in Yemen. The spokesperson for the administration, Mohammad Abdul Salam, claimed that the Saudi-backed coalition refused to pay heed to the Yemeni demands of lifting the blockade completely and helping it pay the pensions and salaries of public servants, Iranian Press Tv reported.

On Sunday, the UN special envoy to Yemen Hans Grudenburg had issued a statement announcing that “an agreement has not been reached” for an “extended and expanded truce” as proposed by his office.

The Saudi-backed council had earlier blamed the Houthis for the failure, claiming that it had made enough concessions to extend the truce, Al Jazeera reported.

In an earlier statement, the Houthis had alleged that the Saudi-led coalition had failed to address major humanitarian concerns in the last six months which would have “alleviated the suffering of Yemeni people.”

Ceasefire led to fall in casualties 

The two-month ceasefire mediated by the UN that took effect in April was the first since the war began in 2015. It was extended twice in the subsequent months. The ceasefire was based on three major conditions: a partial lifting of the Saudi blockade on the Sanaa international airport, allowing ships with humanitarian supplies to Hudaydah port, and lifting of road blockades imposed by the Houthis in Taiz, Yemen’s third biggest city.

Due to the ceasefire, the overall humanitarian situation improved and the number of casualties went down significantly. This is despite claims by the Houthis that the Saudi-backed coalition had violated the ceasefire norms, including by seizing ships headed to Hudaydah on several occasions. The ceasefire also enabled hundreds of Yemenis to fly outside the country for the first time in many years.

The Houthis had also expressed their interest in expanding the mandate of the ceasefire if the Saudi-led coalition agreed to a full and unrestricted opening of both Sanaa international airport and Hudaydah port and a complete end to all blockades. They also wanted an end to what they called the loot of Yemeni oil and gas resources by the Saudis and sought the use of that wealth to pay pensions and salaries to public sector employees.

The foreign minister of the Houthi administration, Hisham Sharaf, alleged that the failure of the coalition to address these issues during the ceasefire was a result of them trying to bring Yemen to a “state of clinical death.” The blockade has crippled Yemeni economy and created an unprecedented humanitarian crisis due to lack of imports of food and medicines.

Meanwhile, the UN is still hopeful of a ceasefire. Grundenburg appealed to the parties to “maintain the calm and refrain from provocations” asking them to “fulfill their obligations to the Yemeni people to pursue every avenue for peace.”