Yemen's warring parties renew two-month truce: UN
Aid agencies and Western governments had urged the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels to extend the truce, which went into effect in April and significantly reduced the intensity of fighting in a conflict the UN says has triggered the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
"I would like to announce that the parties to the conflict have agreed to the United Nations' proposal to renew the current truce in Yemen for two additional months," the UN special envoy on Yemen, Hans Grundberg, said in a statement.
"The extension of the truce comes into effect when the current truce period expires, today 2 June 2022 at 19:00 Yemen time (1600 GMT)."
Yemen has been gripped by conflict since the Iran-backed Houthi rebels took control of the capital Sanaa in 2014, triggering a Saudi-led military intervention in support of the beleaguered government the following year.
Grundberg said the truce was extended under the same terms as the previous one.
The Norwegian Refugee Council welcomed the development, saying it "shows a serious commitment from all parties to end the senseless suffering of millions of Yemenis".
"We hope this extension of the truce will allow for further progress on the reopening of roads linking cities and regions, allow more displaced people to return to their homes, and ensure humanitarian aid can reach people who have been out of reach because of the fighting," NRC's Yemen country director, Erin Hutchinson, said in a statement.
On Wednesday, a Yemeni aircraft left Sanaa for Cairo on the first commercial flight between the two cities since 2016.
It was the seventh such flight under the truce, with the previous six all heading to the Jordanian capital Amman.
Beyond opening Sanaa airport to some commercial flights -- a lifeline to Yemenis needing medical care abroad -- the truce has allowed oil tankers to dock in the rebel-held port of Hodeida, potentially easing fuel shortages in Sanaa and elsewhere.
But a provision for the rebels to ease their siege of Yemen's third-largest city Taez has yet to be implemented, to the anger of the government which is demanding roads to the city be opened.
The rebels in turn have called on the government to pay the salaries of public sector employees working in areas under their control.
"In order for the truce to fully deliver on its potential, additional steps will need to be taken, particularly on the matters of road openings and commercial flight operations," Grundberg said.
"I will continue engaging with the parties to implement and consolidate all elements of the truce in full, and move towards a sustainable political settlement to the conflict that meets the legitimate aspirations and demands of Yemeni women and men."
A Sanaa resident, Nabil al-Qanis, said Yemenis simply wanted the war to be over.
"The Yemenis are tired of this war and they are really fed up with the current situation," he told AFP.
"All parties must work hard to stop the war... and the UN must put pressure on any obstinate party."
The war has killed hundreds of thousands of people and left millions on the brink of famine.
More than four million people have been displaced by the conflict, and 19 million stand to go hungry this year, Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN chief Antonio Guterres, said on Wednesday.
That includes "more than 160,000 who will face famine-like conditions", he said.