London, Jeddah, Aden – A Yemeni government source told Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday that the legitimate government has set three conditions for extending the ceasefire that U.N. Special Envoy Islamil Ould Cheikh Ahmed had requested.
The three conditions include: Putting more pressure on rebels to force them abide by the truce, finding guarantees to the first point, and facilitating the delivery of aid, especially to Taiz.
The source justified these conditions by saying: “The legitimate government does not want to see rebels use this truce to mobilize their troops, double their assaults on Yemen and resume their attacks against the Saudi borders.”
Ould Cheikh had asked Yemeni warring parties to accept the extension of an expired humanitarian truce, which had entered into effect last Thursday.
The U.N. envoy reminded all parties of the ceasefire’s terms and conditions, which include a complete and comprehensive cessation of all military operations. Ould Chiekh said he expected the two parties would respect their commitment towards a final cessation of violence, stressing the importance of a complete ceasefire in case they agree on the extension of the truce.
Yemeni Foreign Minister said he respected the U.N. envoy’s call for an extension, but added that in effect, there was no truce due to the violations by the rebels.
The foreign minister told Agence France Press: “Even if we accept it, the other party does not make any commitment to respect the ceasefire.”
Yemen’s Chief of General Staff, Major General Mohammad Ali Almekdeshi said rebel militias have deliberately thwarted the humanitarian truce.
“The violation committed by militias has convinced more our political and military leadership in Yemen that the coup perpetrators are not serious to accept peace and were not ready for a ceasefire, and it confirms their intransigence to continue war and their inability to meet the desires of the people,” Almekdeshi said, according to Reuters.
Germany’s news agency reported that Ould Cheikh arrived to Sana’a yesterday in an unannounced visit. The U.N. envoy met with head of the Houthi delegation, Mohammed Abdelsalam.
Ould Cheikh’s visit coincided with a political escalation launched by the camp of ousted former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the General People’s Congress party, claiming in a statement issued yesterday that Ould Cheikh was standing in the side of the Alliance.
However, Yemeni political analyst Najib Gholab said “party statements issued by the narrow camps of Saleh do not express the opinions of the General People’s Congress party, but the interests of a minority allied with Houthi rebels.”
Gholab said he expected the U.N. envoy would meet with the decision-makers in Sana’a, which in fact are the Houthis.
Meanwhile, UNICEF’s regional chief of communication for the Middle East and North Africa, Juliette Touma told Asharq Al-Awsat that an aid convoy loaded with humanitarian aid was heading in the direction of Taiz last Saturday but could not enter the city due to military checkpoints.
Touma’s comments confirmed a statement issued Saturday by Taiz local authorities, who said Yemen’s rebels obstructed the entry of a UNICEF team to the city of Taiz despite crossing a long distance.
Taiz Governor Ali al-Maamari told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The last truce was never implemented. It was simply reports on papers.”
Al-Maamari said preventing international organizations from delivering aid to Yemeni cities is a blatant challenge to the siege.
On Sunday, rebel militias had also used live bullets to suppress protests held in the central prison of Sana’a against the selective release of prisoners.