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A two-month truce has begun in Yemen, the United Nations special envoy Hans Grundberg said on Saturday, amid hopes that it could be a step towards a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
The truce went into effect at 7 pm (1600 GMT). Grundberg had announced the deal the day before, saying it had been agreed by the Yemeni government and the Saudi-led coalition supporting it, and the Houthi rebels who are their rivals.
The agreement includes a halt to all military operations inside and outside of Yemen, allowing the entry of 18 fuel ships into Hodeidah port, and permitting two commercial flights per week to operate in and out of Sana’a Airport to Jordan and Egypt.
Sana’a airport has been closed to commercial flights since August 2016 by the Saudi-led alliance fighting the Houthis.
The rival sides will also discuss opening roads in Taiz and other provinces to facilitate people’s movement.
“The success of this initiative will depend on the warring parties’ continued commitment to implementing the truce agreement with its accompanying humanitarian measures,” Grundberg said.
He hoped the agreement would restore some trust between the warring sides and enable the resumption of a political process aimed at ending the conflict.
Saudi Arabia and its allies have been fighting alongside the government in Yemen against Iranian-backed Houthis since March 2015, around six months after the rebels seized large parts of the north, including the capital Sana’a.
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) on Saturday welcomed the truce as an opportunity for respite for the Yemeni population.
“We urge the warring parties to adhere to their commitments and work to find a peaceful resolution to this conflict, which has already killed and maimed thousands, and deprived millions of their livelihoods,” NRC’s Yemen director, Erin Hutchinson, said.
“We really hope this is the start of a new chapter, giving Yemenis a chance to stand on their own two feet again in peace and stability,” Hutchinson.
On Friday, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged the parties concerned to adhere to the truce and build on it.
“The ultimate aim must be a negotiated political settlement which addresses the legitimate concerns and aspirations of all Yemenis,” Guterres said.
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