Archive (Reuters)

Failed Truce: Houthis Demand Oil Resources in South


Mon, 03-10-2022 03:47 PM, Aden

Aden (South24) 

The UN Special Envoy to Yemen Hans Grundberg announced the failure to reach an agreement to extend the third truce in Yemen, which practically ended yesterday evening on 19:00 Yemen time. At this time, the Houthis threatened to target international interests domestically and abroad unless the truce guarantees them new resources.

After the end of the truce, military clashes resumed for a short time on the fronts of Al-Dhalea, Taiz and Marib governorates, according to what was monitored by "South24 Center" and local press sources.

Late yesterday evening, the Special Envoy said in a statement that he regrets that "an agreement has not been reached today, as an extended and expanded truce would provide additional critical benefits to the population. I am grateful for the constructive engagement at the leadership level from both sides over the past weeks," he said. "And I appreciate the position of the Government of Yemen on engaging positively with my proposal. I will continue to work with both sides to try and find solutions," he added.

For its part, the Yemeni government expressed its regret that "the efforts of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to Yemen have not succeeded in persuading the Houthi militias to choose the path of peace instead of war, and its refusal to extend and expand the truce on October 2, 2022."

The government said in a statement published by the official Saba news agency: "Despite the intransigence of the Houthis, the truce that has lasted since April 2, 2022 has brought many benefits to a wide proportion of our people as a result of the concessions made by the Yemeni government and the Arab Coalition to alleviate human suffering."

Threatening international interests

The Yemeni government called on the Security Council and the international community to deal seriously and responsibly with what it described as "terrorist militias", in light of what it said were "their recent serious threats it made on its official websites to threaten international navigation and bombard ships and oil installations, which constitutes a real threat to security and peace in Yemen, the region and for the world.”

The government considered that "listing the Houthis on the terrorist list and imposing sanctions on its leaders would be an additional pressure tool to push them to abandon the option of war and engage in peace efforts led by the United Nations without conditions."

The Houthis had criticized the United Nations for putting forward what they described as "a paper that does not live up to the demands of the Yemeni people and does not establish the peace process," according to what Al-Masirah TV quoted the "Supreme Political Council."

The Houthis military spokesman said that their forces "gives oil companies operating in the UAE and Saudi Arabia an opportunity to arrange their situation and leave the two countries as long as the countries of the US-Saudi aggression are not committed to a truce that gives the Yemeni people the right to exploit their oil wealth for the benefit of the Yemeni state employees' salary."

Yahya Sareea tweeted: "Our armed forces are able, with God's help, to deprive the Saudi and Emirati of their resources if they insist on depriving our Yemeni people of their resources."

The member in the Houthi negotiating delegation, Abdulmalik al-Ajri, said that the negotiations were mainly with the Coalition countries, "and they are the ones who bear the responsibility for their failure, as they are the ones who control and tamper with Yemen's oil wealth and obstruct the payment of salaries."

The Vice-President of the Consultation and Reconciliation Commission, Abdulmalik Al-Mikhlafi, tweeted: "Houthis' ambitions in the Yemeni oil fields to complete their control over the country are ahead of all humanitarian considerations and calls for peace, adding that the Houthis seek to add a new resource to the resources they plunders to finance their war machine and enrich their leaders."

Yemeni Information Minister Muammar Al-Eryani said that "1,660,703 metric tons of oil derivatives have arrived through the port of Hodeidah since the entry into force of the UN truce, amounting to more than one billion US dollars, and their tax and customs revenues are sufficient to pay the salaries of state employees and retirees in the Houthis-controlled areas."

The Houthis began focusing on oil resources in South, following the deployment of the Southern forces in Shabwa governorate and their efforts to secure the governorates of Hadramout and Al-Mahra.

The Houthis are exploiting the international need for energy to launch their threats, with the escalation of the global crisis over it, due to the Russian-Ukrainian war. According to experts who spoke to South24.

The Southern forces announced that they had repelled an attack they described as "treacherous" on the fronts of Al-Fakher, Al-Jib and Hajar sectors northwest of Al-Dhalea. They said that Houthi shelling targeted military sites and inhabited villages. At this time, Yemeni local sources reported that the Houthis bombed military sites on the western and northern fronts of Taiz. While other sources reported a Houthi attack south of Marib.

In his statement, the UN Special Envoy called on " the parties to maintain calm and refrain from provocations or any actions that could lead to an escalation of violence." "I will continue my relentless efforts to engage with the parties to quickly reach an agreement on a way forward," he added.

Last hours

The last hours before the end of the truce witnessed an intense movement by the UN envoy to ensure the success of reaching an agreement, according to sources who spoke to "South24".

Yesterday, the UN envoy met with the PLC Chairman Rashad Al-Alimi in Riyadh to discuss the details of the updated truce proposal, which the government parties received on Saturday night.

"South24 Center" had published, six hours before the end of the truce, according to a senior presidential source, "that the Yemeni parties agreed to the updated version of the proposal to extend the truce for a period of six months." The source indicated that Grundberg informed the PLC that the Houthis had agreed to the latest proposal. For his part, the PLC informed the UN envoy of his approval of the proposal, but warned him of the lack of seriousness of the Houthis.

On Sunday, the Houthis' official spokesman and head of the Houthi negotiating delegation, Mohammad Abd al-Salam, denied the news that the Iranian-backed group had agreed to extend the truce. The man described the media that broadcast this as "harmful".

Later, the Yemeni Foreign Minister announced, in statements published by "Xinhua", that the PLC had already informed Grundberg of its approval of the updated truce proposal.

The informed source told "South24" that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also supported the approval of the updated truce proposal.

Political sources suggested that the Houthis' retraction of approval indicates a divided positions within the Houthis' high command, according to the London-based Al-Arab newspaper on Monday.

Updated truce proposal

The updated truce proposal, according to informed sources who spoke to "South24", includes 10 basic provisions (issues to be negotiated during the truce, roads, Sanaa International Airport, Hodeidah port, salaries of civil servants and retirees, military issues, economic issues, political issues, and the role of the United Nations).

"South24 Center" obtained information that the updated proposal included the government's coverage by paying the remainder of the salaries of the 2014 payroll employees, as well as customs and tax revenues from the ports of Hodeidah, Saleef and Ras Issa, all of which are deposited in a special account supervised by the United Nations.

The PLC agreed to this, despite the objection of Southern parties to the mechanisms through which the salary payment process could take place, according to private sources who spoke to "South24".

Today morning, the Iranian Foreign Ministry linked the permanence of the ceasefire in Yemen to the lifting of the so-called "siege" on Yemen.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said, in statements carried by Fars News Agency, that "the solution to Yemen is political, not military." He pointed out that Iran helped "shaping the negotiation process in order to reach a ceasefire, which is one of the pillars of the four-pronged Iranian solutions to resolve the political crisis."

The Iranian official added, "The firing is not the main issue in itself and it should be a prelude to help solve the political crisis in Yemen and form a stable and sustainable situation in this country.

He said, "Iran supports the renewal of the ceasefire period and we encourage our friends and relevant parties in Yemen to follow this path, but the main decision makers in Yemen are the Yemenis themselves, and Iran as a party interested in peace in Yemen encourages its friends to follow this path." "We support the United Nations mission and its envoy in completing the political process in Yemen," he added.

South24 Center

YemenUN TrucePLCHouthisHans GrundbergSaudi Arabia