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Aid agencies urge Yemen's warring parties to renew truce

By AFP - Jun 01,2022 - Last updated at Jun 01,2022

A photo taken on May 28 shows loading docks at the port of Yemen's Red Sea coastal city of Hodeida, around 230 kilometres west of the capital (AFP photo)

DUBAI — Aid agencies urged Yemen's warring parties to extend a two-month UN-brokered truce on Tuesday two days before it was set to expire, saying it had "positive humanitarian impacts".

A brutal seven-year conflict pitting Yemen's Saudi-backed government against the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels has killed hundreds of thousands of people and left millions on the brink of famine.

On April 2, the first nationwide truce since 2016 came into force, but that runs out on Thursday.

"As organisations working across Yemen, we have seen the positive humanitarian impacts of the truce," said a joint statement by over 30 aid agencies, including Save The Children, Oxfam and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

Earlier this month, NRC said the number of civilian casualties in Yemen had dropped by more than half since the truce took effect.

"We... urge you to extend the truce agreement, build further on the gains you have made possible over the past two months, and work towards peace for the people of Yemen," they added.

The Houthis seized control of the capital Sanaa in 2014, prompting a Saudi-led military intervention to support the government the following year, and igniting a war that has caused what the United Nations has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

"Don't let June be the month where fighting resumes, public services fail, and more innocent lives are lost," the aid agencies said.

Under the truce, which expires on June 2, more than 1,000 passengers have flown between Sanaa and Jordan, and preparations are underway to start flights to Egypt.

The aid agencies said that the reopening of Sanaa airport to commercial flights had allowed hundreds of patients in "critical need of lifesaving medical treatment outside of the country" to finally receive it.

Last week, the UN special envoy, Hans Grundberg, also urged both sides to renew their two-month truce.

"The truce has presented a window of opportunity to break with the violence and suffering of the past and move towards a peaceful future in Yemen," Grundberg said. "The parties need to seize this opportunity."

Earlier this month, Houthi rebels said they were considering renewing the ceasefire.

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