Could the renewal of the truce in Yemen be an example to be pursued for the Russian-Ukrainian conflict?

(To Antonino Lombardi)

The United Nations special envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, today announced the renewal, until 2 August, of the truce signed last April (see article) between the parties to the conflict.

"I commend the parties for taking these steps and for agreeing to extend the truce. This represents a significant change in the trajectory of the war and was achieved through responsible and courageous decision making by the parties. In order for the truce to realize its full potential, further measures will need to be taken, in particular with regard to road openings and commercial flight operations " Grundberg said.

In these two months there have been many benefits that the population has been able to see: fewer civilian victims, supply of fuel through ports, the resumption of commercial flights after almost six years of closure.

Last May 16, in fact, Grundberg had announced, with great satisfaction, the take-off of the first commercial plane from the capital Sana'a to Amman (Jordan) with about a hundred Yemenis on board traveling to be treated abroad, to meet with the loved ones or to seek educational and work opportunities. More than a thousand passengers have moved so far, the frequency of flights is increasing and it seems that the fruitful cooperation with Egypt will allow the reopening of the route with Cairo.

The objectives to be pursued during the further two months of the ceasefire will be road openings and the implementation of commercial flights.

Last week there was in Amman the first meeting, in a truce regime, of the military coordination committee which was attended, in addition to General Antony Hayward (military adviser to the United Nations envoy), military representatives of the Yemeni government, the armed group Ansar Allah and the command of the joint forces of the coalition.

We discussed the decisions to be taken to reduce escalation and increase strategic-operational security as well as, as Grundberg stated, "Discuss how to improve dialogue and communication between the parties for the creation of trust".

On the same days, the parties discussed possible alternatives to open key roads in Taiz and other governorates to follow up on the points of the truce agreement.

The proposed proposal provides for a gradual reopening of the roads while ensuring safety for civilian travelers. According to the UN envoy, this will have benefits on the economy and above all will alleviate the suffering of the population. The impact of road closures on civilians is devastating. Their reopening will lead to easier access to goods and services and improve freedom of movement by allowing divided families to meet, go to work, reach places of care and commerce and allow children to go to school.

Of course, the conflict in Yemen has lasted for years and has caused many civilian victims but - even if it remains one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world and one of the most dangerous places - it is trying to recover despite the continuing difficulties coming from various fronts (pandemic and Russo-Ukrainian War). The war in Ukraine and the difficulties of selling its own cereal products has caused prices to rise, aggravating the Yemeni humanitarian emergency which, according to United Nations estimates, would lead to starvation of seven and a half million people. However, the truce allowed planes and ships to supply the country with basic necessities.

It is perhaps still early to speak of a "truce" in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict but the conditions set in place in Yemen to be able to talk - or at least try - do not appear useless to reach a definitive resolution.


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