The legitimate Yemeni government and Iran-aligned Houthi militias have both committed to steps towards a ceasefire, announced UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg on Saturday.
The announcement was a result of a series of intense talks in Riyadh and Muscat between the two parties, including with the President of the Presidential Leadership Council, Dr. Rashad al Alimi, and Houthi chief negotiator, Mohammed Abdul Salam, through Saudi Arabia and Oman’s mediation.
“Grundberg welcomes the parties’ commitment to a set of measures to implement a nationwide ceasefire, improve living conditions in Yemen, and engage in preparations for the resumption of an inclusive political process under UN auspices,” said the envoy in a statement.
“The Special Envoy will now engage with the parties to establish a roadmap under UN auspices that includes these commitments and supports their implementation,” it added.
Mayy el-Sheikh, Chief of the Strategic Communications and Public Information at the Office of the special envoy, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the UN was working with the concerned parties to set up a mechanism that would pave the way for the implementation of the commitments.
“The UN roadmap will include, among other elements, the parties’ commitment to implement a nationwide ceasefire, pay all public sector salaries, resume oil exports, open roads in Taiz and other parts of Yemen, and further ease restrictions on Sanaa Airport and the Hodeidah port. The roadmap will also establish implementation mechanisms and prepare for a Yemeni-owned political process under UN auspices,” continued the statement.
Grundberg expressed his deep appreciation for the key roles played by Saudi Arabia and Oman in supporting the parties to reach this point. He urged all parties to exercise maximum restraint at this critical time to allow for a conducive environment for dialogue and the successful conclusion of agreement on the roadmap.
“Thirty million Yemenis are watching and waiting for this new opportunity to provide for tangible results and progress towards lasting peace. The parties have taken a significant step. Their commitments are, first and foremost, an obligation to the Yemeni people to progress towards a future that meets the legitimate aspirations of all Yemenis,” Grundberg said, “We are ready to accompany them on every step of the way,” said the statement.
El-Sheikh described the commitments as “significant”, adding that the UN wanted to maintain this momentum and noting that there was consensus over the need to forge ahead as quickly as possible.
Moreover, she said the parties are urged to refrain from taking escalatory measures and exercise maximum restraint on all fronts.