(Photo credit: AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
UN officials announced on 1 April that Saudi Arabia has agreed to lift the air and sea blockade imposed on Yemen, allowing ships carrying fuel and aid to the war-ravaged country to enter the port of Hodeidah.
The Saudi-led coalition has also agreed to stop its bombardment of the capital Sanaa and its airport, allowing commercial flights to operate in the country.
“The parties accepted a halt on all offensive military air, ground and maritime operations inside Yemen and across its borders; they also agreed for fuel ships to enter Hodeidah ports and commercial flights to operate in and out of Sanaa airport to predetermined destinations in the region,” UN special envoy Hans Grundberg said in a statement.
Officials from Yemen’s Ansarallah resistance movement welcomed the news, with the head of the country’s negotiating team saying on Twitter: “We welcome the announcement of a humanitarian truce by the UN envoy to Yemen under the auspices of the UN for a period of two months.”
نرحب بإعلان المبعوث الأممي لليمن عن هدنة إنسانية برعاية أممية لمدة شهرين بموجبها تتوقف العمليات العسكرية ويفتح مطار صنعاء الدولي لعدد من الرحلات وكذلك فتح ميناء الحديدة أمام المشتقات النفطية لعدد من السفن خلال شهري الهدنة .
— محمد عبدالسلام (@abdusalamsalah) April 1, 2022
The breakthrough agreement is set to begin on the evening of 2 April, coinciding with the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
It calls for the entry of 18 fuel vessels during the truce period as well as two flights a week operated from Sanaa to Jordan and Egypt, according to a report by Yemen’s Al Masirah TV.
The news comes after months of retaliatory strikes launched by Ansarallah forces against strategic targets deep inside the kingdom. The resistance forces have also launched precision attacks inside the UAE, one of Saudi Arabia’s closest allies in the war.
This deal marks the most significant step towards ending a conflict that has left hundreds of thousands dead, displaced millions, and has caused what the UN calls “one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time.”
Yemeni Foreign Minister Hisham Sharaf said last week that Riyadh and its allies have committed “unprecedented war crimes” against the Arab world’s poorest nation, including overt attempts to starve civilians, while the international community has remained silent.