War in Yemen: Houthi rebels and government commit to new ceasefire, UN announces

At war since 2015, the Houthi rebels and the Yemeni government have committed to respecting a new ceasefire and accepted the opening of a peace process to end the conflict, the envoy announced on Saturday (December 23)

War in Yemen: Houthi rebels and government commit to new ceasefire, UN announces

At war since 2015, the Houthi rebels and the Yemeni government have committed to respecting a new ceasefire and accepted the opening of a peace process to end the conflict, the envoy announced on Saturday (December 23). United Nations Special Rapporteur for Yemen.

Following a series of meetings in Saudi Arabia and Oman, Hans Grundberg “welcomes the commitment of the parties to a package of measures aimed at implementing a ceasefire on a global scale of the country…and [to] engage in preparations for the resumption of an inclusive political process under the auspices of the United Nations,” according to the UN statement.

It said the deal includes commitments to pay civil servants' salaries, open roads to the rebel-blocked city of Taiz and other parts of Yemen, and resume oil exports.

“Yemenis expect tangible results from this new agreement in order to move towards lasting peace,” added Hans Grundberg. Commitments which “are above all an obligation towards the Yemeni people”, he continued.

Tensions in the Red Sea linked to the Israel-Hamas war

The poorest country on the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen has been plunged for eight years into a war pitting Houthi rebels against government forces, supported since 2015 by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia, and notably including the United Arab Emirates.

However, violence there has largely decreased since a truce negotiated by the UN in April 2022, which expired last October but which is still more or less respected.

In recent weeks, the Houthis have been in the news in the context of the war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas. Claiming to act in support of the Palestinians, the Yemeni rebels, supported by Tehran and supporters of Hamas, have claimed several attacks in the Red Sea against commercial ships linked, according to them, to Israel.

A senior Houthi official said this week that these attacks will only stop “if Israel stops its crimes and food, medicine and fuel reach the besieged population” of the Gaza Strip.

More than twenty countries have joined a US-led coalition aimed at defending maritime traffic in the Red Sea from Houthi attacks, the Pentagon announced this week.