1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Yemen truce extended in last-minute deal

June 2, 2022

The truce had seen a halt to major military confrontations in the seven-year war and helped to ease a humanitarian crisis that has left millions facing starvation.

Yemenis walk in the besieged city of Taez
The truce has led to a considerable drop in civilian casualtiesImage: AHMAD AL-BASHA/AFP/Getty Images

Yemen's Saudi-backed government and the Houthi rebels have reached a deal to extend a two-month truce that had offered some relief to the population of the war-torn country.

Aid agencies had urged the two sides to renew the agreement, as the country grapples with one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.

US President Joe Biden hailed the truce, urging that it be maintained long-term.

"The parties to the conflict have now extended this truce for another two months, and it's important that we work from here to make it permanent," Biden said in a statement.

"I urge all parties to move expeditiously towards a comprehensive and inclusive peace process. Our diplomacy will not rest until a permanent settlement is in place," he added.

What did the two sides in Yemen agree?

The officially recognized government and the Houthi rebels have kept to a cease-fire since April, allowing some supply routes to reopen.

The truce was due to expire on 2 June, but negotiators agreed to extend it at the very last minute.

The Norwegian Refugee Council said that the truce "shows a serious commitment from all parties to end the senseless suffering of millions of Yemenis."

The council estimates that the truce resulted in a 50% drop in civilian casualties in the first month.

Yemen sees first nationwide truce since 2016

Yemen's conflict has been entrenched since the Iran-backed Houthi rebels took control of the capital Sanaa in 2014.

Control of the arid, mountainous country is split between the Houthis and the government.

A blockade by Saudi Arabia has kept the country cut off from international aviation links, but during the truce six commercial flights have left the capital for Amman, in Jordan, and one departed for Cairo.

What do the Houthi rebels want?

The conflict has displaced more than 4 million people, and 19 million are facing food shortages.

Under the terms of the truce, Sanaa airport should see two commercial flights a week and Hodeida port – held by the Houthis – should receive 18 ships carrying fuel.

Commercial flights are important for patients in Yemen in need of medical attention that is unavailable in the country, while fuel shortages have caused severe problems.

The internationally recognized government had asked that the Houthis lift their siege of Taez, Yemen's third-largest city, but there had been limited progress towards achieving that.

Fighting died down considerably during the cease-fire, and the Houthis also paused their cross-border attacks on targets in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

"For the past two months, Yemenis have experienced the tangible benefits of the truce," said the UN special envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg. "I count on the parties' continued cooperation in good faith to build trust and take meaningful steps towards providing a peaceful future for all Yemenis."

Baking bread during Yemen's humanitarian crisis

er/nm (AP, AFP)