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A Year Long Truce in Yemen

(FILE) Yemeni relatives embrace at the Sanaa Airport.

The truce ended much of the violence and paved the way for a future settlement of the conflict but did not stop the fighting completely.

A Year Long Truce in Yemen
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April marks the one-year anniversary since the announcement of a truce in Yemen. Prior to the truce, the conflict pitted Iran-backed Houthi rebels against Yemen’s internationally recognized government supported by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The truce, brokered by the United Nations, resulted in the longest period of calm since 2014.

Prior to the truce, over seven years of violence ruined Yemen’s economy and engendered one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. Today, more than 21.6 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. Some 6 million Yemenis have been displaced and hundreds of thousands of people are experiencing various degrees of food insecurity, with some facing starvation.

The truce ended much of the violence and paved the way for a future settlement of the conflict but did not stop the fighting completely. Nonetheless, the relative calm has reportedly led to a 60 percent decrease in civilian casualties. What’s more, it allowed for the opening of the airport in Sana’a to commercial flights. At the same time, steps to facilitate fuel imports improved access to clean water, electricity, healthcare, and a variety of services. The pause in fighting also allowed humanitarian groups to reach more people in need of aid.

“The UN-led truce and U.S.-facilitated diplomacy have largely stopped the fighting, saving thousands of civilian lives; nevertheless, the United States recognizes that the truce was only the first step toward a comprehensive, Yemeni-Yemeni political process and a durable resolution to the conflict,” said State Department Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel.

The truce is an important milestone, said President Joe Biden in a written statement. “Maintaining this truce and strengthening progress toward peace has been a main focus of my administration’s engagement with our partners in the Middle East. That focus will continue intensively as we seek to build on this extraordinary progress and support all efforts towards a comprehensive resolution to this terrible conflict,” he said.

“The United States remains fully committed to our partners in the region, and to supporting Saudi Arabia and the UAE from Iranian enabled attacks. The fact that cross border attacks from Yemen have ceased in the last year, as well as airstrikes inside Yemen, is yet another positive outcome of the truce,” said President Biden. “I look forward to continuing to work with all our partners in the region to permanently end the war in Yemen.”