Saudi foreign minister says efforts to extend Yemen truce still stand
Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said that the efforts to extend the truce in Yemen still stand, Al Arabiya TV reported on Wednesday, after an initial UN-brokered pact between a Saudi-led coalition and the Houthi rebels expired early this month.
The kingdom, the coalition and the Riyadh-backed Yemeni government are "keen on extending the truce," the Saudi-owned TV station quoted Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud as saying.
The United Nations is pressing for an extended and expanded truce that would build on the two-month one that expired on 2 October after being rolled over twice, and which has brought the longest stretch of relative calm in the seven-year conflict.
US Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking headed back to region on Tuesday to support the UN-led negotiations with Yemeni parties, according to the State Department.
Lenderking last week called on the Iran-aligned Houthis, de facto authorities in the north, to show more flexibility in the negotiations, specifically on the United Nations' proposed mechanism to pay public sector wages.
The Saudi-led coalition intervened in March 2015 after the Houthis ousted the internationally recognised government from the capital, Sanaa.
Both the coalition and the Houthis have been accused of perpetrating grave violations by rights groups.
The conflict in Yemen has killed tens of thousands and caused a dire humanitarian crisis that has pushed millions into hunger.