A series of recent events has led to hope the devastating war in Yemen could end with a political resolution.
The war began seven years ago, when Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized sizeable swaths of the country and forced the internationally recognized president of Yemen into exile. Since then, at the request of the Yemeni government, Saudi Arabia has led a coalition of countries against the Houthis. The conflict has led to the deaths of an estimated 377,000 people, uprooted millions, and driven Yemenis into severe poverty and hunger.
On April 2, the start of Ramadan, a United Nations-brokered, two-month, renewable truce between the Republic of Yemen Government and the Houthis went into effect. It stipulated the cessation of military operations by both sides; facilitation for fuel ships to enter Hudaydah port and for commercial flights from Sanaa airport to predetermined destinations; and an agreement to open roads leading to the besieged Taiz governorate and other contested areas.
U.S. Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking said the truce represented the first step to a possible permanent ceasefire. “If the international community and parties can work together, this could be built into a lasting ceasefire and inclusive political process that ultimately gives shape to a new Yemen,” he said. "We want to build on a decisive moment that helps Yemen turn the corner."
A few days after the truce went into effect, Yemen’s exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi ceded power to a new Presidential Leadership Council tasked with running the government during a transitional period and negotiating a permanent ceasefire and settlement with the Houthis.
The same day, Saudi Arabia and the UAE pledged $3 billion in economic aid to Yemen. The United States hailed the economic support, which could help stabilize the economy and improve Yemenis’ access to basic services. In addition, Saudi Arabia pledged $300 million for the UN’s Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan.
The United States welcomed the formation of the Presidential Leadership Council. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “We support the aspirations of the Yemeni people for an effective, democratic and transparent government.
“The United States remains committed to helping advance a durable, inclusive resolution to the conflict in Yemen. We urge the Presidential Leadership Council to abide by the UN-negotiated truce and cooperate with comprehensive UN-led efforts to end the conflict. Yemenis must have the opportunity to determine the future of their country. We urge all parties to choose the path of peace and dialogue.”