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Truce offers rare opportunity to pivot toward peace, should not be lost: UN Yemen envoy

This file picture shows a ship anchored in Yemen’s strategic western port of Hudaydah. (Photo via Twitter)

The United Nations special envoy to Yemen has hailed the extension of a two-month nationwide truce between Saudi-led coalition and the popular Ansarullah resistance movement, stating that the ceasefire “offers a rare opportunity to pivot towards peace that should not be lost.”

“The truce continues to deliver tangible benefits to the Yemeni people. And as of today, eight round trips flights between Sana’a Airport and Amman and Cairo have taken off. Hudaydah port continues to see increased and regular flow of fuel, which is considerably easing chronic fuel shortages," Hans Grundberg said during a meeting of the UN Security Council session in New York on Tuesday.

"In addition to introducing measures that helps alleviate civilian suffering in Yemen, the United Nations-mediated truce contributes to significant military de-escalation and reduction in civilian casualties across Yemen and beyond its borders,” he added.

“However, we still see records civilian casualties from landmines as civilians moved through areas that were previously inaccessible due to fighting before the truce. The truce has also enabled the United Nations to convene direct discussions between the warring sides for the first time in years, and in Amman, Jordan last month, my Office convened two meetings for the military representatives of the parties to discuss setting up joint mechanism for addressing, managing, and preventing incidents that threaten de-escalation efforts,” the official said.

"The truce offers a rare opportunity to pivot towards peace that should not be lost," Grundberg said.

The senior UN official called for the reopening of roads into the besieged southwestern Yemeni city of Ta’izz.

Saudi-led coalition seizes another Yemen-bound fuel ship in violation of truce

Meanwhile, the Saudi-led coalition forces seized another Yemen-bound oil tanker carrying thousands of tons of fuel for the crisis-stricken country in flagrant breach of an ongoing UN-brokered ceasefire.

Essam al-Mutawakil, a spokesman for the Yemeni National Oil Company, said in a statement on Tuesday said the coalition did not allow the Princess Halima tanker, which was carrying 23,920 tons of gasoline, to dock at Yemen’s western port of Hudaydah and offload its cargo.

Mutawakil added that the ship was seized despite being inspected and cleared for the port call by the United Nations staff, and having obtained necessary entry permits.

He stressed that the Saudi-led coalition is still practicing piracy against oil tankers despite the fact that they have acquired entry permits from the United Nations.

Furthermore, a Yemeni military official said the Saudi-led coalition forces and their allied militants have violated the UN-brokered ceasefire at least 132 times during the past 24 hours.

The official, who asked not to be named, told Yemen’s official Saba news agency that the violations included 40 flights of armed Saudi-led reconnaissance aircraft in the skies of the provinces of Ma’rib, Ta’izz, Hajjah, al-Jawf, Sa’ada and Dhale as well as border areas.

He added that Saudi-led troops and their mercenaries also fortified their positions around the city of Ma’rib, in the Bir Basha and al-Barah districts of Ta’izz, in Dhale province and close to Saudi Arabia’s southern border region of Jizan.

The Yemeni military official further noted that residential buildings also came under artillery shelling in al-Balaq al-Sharqi, al-Rawdha, Akd and Mala'a areas of Ma’rib province, west of Harad district in Hajjah province, in addition to Malaheez and Madafen areas in Sa'ada province.

The official stated that 67 shooting incidents were also recorded in Ma’rib, Ta’izz, Hajjah, Sa'ada and Dhale provinces in addition to border regions. The shots struck residential buildings as well as positions of Yemeni army forces and fighters from the Popular Committees.

Saudi Arabia launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with its Arab allies and with arms and logistics support from the US and other Western states.

The objective was to reinstall the Riyadh-friendly regime of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and crush the Ansarullah resistance movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of a functional government in Yemen.

While the Saudi-led coalition has failed to meet any of its objectives, the war has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

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