UN chief welcomes Yemen truce agreement
UNITED NATIONS, April 1 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday welcomed the agreement by the parties to the conflict in Yemen on a two-month truce, which comes into effect on Saturday.
Guterres said the truce opens the door to addressing Yemen's urgent humanitarian and economic needs, and creates an opportunity to restart Yemen's political process.
"This truce must be the first step to ending Yemen's devastating war," said Guterres.
UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg has just announced the breakthrough in Amman, Jordan.
Grundberg said the parties have agreed to halt all offensive military air, ground and maritime operations inside Yemen and across its borders. They have also agreed for fuel ships to enter into Hodeidah ports and for commercial flights to operate in and out of Sanaa airport to pre-determined destinations in the region.
Grundberg said the parties have further agreed to meet under his auspices to open roads in Taiz and other governorates in Yemen.
The truce can be renewed beyond the two-month period with the consent of the parties, said Grundberg.
Guterres commended the Yemeni government, the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthis in Yemen for the agreement, and urged all parties to make the necessary arrangements to support the successful implementation of the truce.
A halt to the fighting, coupled with the entry of fuel ships, and the easing of restrictions on the movement of people and goods in, out and within the country, will contribute to building trust and creating a conducive environment to resume negotiations for a peaceful settlement of the conflict, he said.
Guterres urged the parties to cooperate "in good faith and without preconditions" with Grundberg in the latter's efforts to resume an inclusive and comprehensive Yemeni political process. "The ultimate aim must be a negotiated political settlement which addresses the legitimate concerns and aspirations of all Yemenis."
For more than seven years, war has devastated the lives of millions of Yemeni women, children and men, and the war has fueled one of the world's worst humanitarian crises, brought state institutions to the verge of collapse, reversed human development by two decades, and threatened regional peace and security, said Guterres.
"Today must be the start of a better future for the people of Yemen," he said.
Guterres cautioned that such agreements are always fragile. "So now, we must take profit of the momentum in order to make sure that this truce is fully respected and that it is renewed and, with that renewal, that a true political process is launched in Yemen."
He also expressed the hope that the truce agreement in Yemen will inspire other peace deals.
"I think that this demonstrates that even when things look impossible, when there is the will to compromise, peace becomes possible.... And I hope that this agreement will inspire others, in Ukraine and other parts of the world, in order to make sure that we address the dramatic conflicts that are undermining the well-being of so many people around the world."
UN Undersecretary-General Martin Griffiths, who has been tasked by Guterres to pursue a humanitarian cease-fire in Ukraine, will be flying to Moscow on Sunday. And after that, he will be going to Kiev, said Guterres.
The UN chief said both Russia and Ukraine have agreed to meet Griffiths to discuss a humanitarian cease-fire.