Yemen government 'determined' to renew truce with Huthis
Yemen's government wants to renew a ceasefire with Huthi rebels and will not escalate the conflict, its foreign minister said Wednesday, three days after a six-month truce expired.
"We are determined to renew the ceasefire and address all problems through dialogue," Ahmed bin Mubarak said during a visit to Morocco.
The U.N.-brokered ceasefire, in effect since April, had brought a sharp reduction in hostilities and facilitated moves to alleviate the dire humanitarian situation in the country, according to aid agencies.
Some 80 percent of the population rely on aid after eight years of war.
Bin Mubarak said the government wanted to preserve those gains.
"We have not made any escalatory moves, despite the Huthis announcing that the Red Sea is a military zone and directly threatening ships," he said.
Fighting between the Iran-backed Huthis and pro-government forces began in 2014, and escalated the following year when a Saudi-led military coalition intervened in support of the loyalists.
The war has killed hundreds of thousands of people, directly and indirectly, and created the world's worst humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations.
The initial two-month ceasefire, twice renewed, had led to a 60 percent reduction in casualties and allowed fuel imports into the Huthi-held port of Hodeida to quadruple, humanitarian groups said.
But U.N. envoy Hans Grundberg's proposal to extend the agreement again, adding further measures including allowing more fuel ships into Hodeida and paying public sector salaries, was rejected by the Huthis who cited "false promises."