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Leading Senate Democrats Praise Extension of Yemen Truce

WASHINGTON – Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-R.I.), and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) today praised the extension of a ceasefire between the warring parties in Yemen.

The three U.S. senators had sent a letter to President Biden urging the White House to work with the United Nations to help facilitate a peaceful and durable resolution to the conflict in Yemen and ensure an extension of the current UN-brokered truce.

Yemen’s warring sides entered into a UN-brokered ceasefire in April, and subsequently agreed to a two-month extension in June, with that agreement due to expire today, August 2. The senators urged President Biden to “press the Yemeni parties to extend, uphold, and expand the elements of the initial truce agreement.”

In their letter, the senators noted the truce has benefitted millions of civilians in the war-ravaged country, even as some elements of the agreement have not been fully implemented.

“We have already glimpsed the benefits of peace,” the three senators wrote.  “According to UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, the truce has led to a 60 percent decrease in civilian casualties, a 47 percent decrease in displacement, 20 round trip commercial flights, and 26 fuels ships entering the port of Hodeidah, carrying almost double the amount of fuel that entered the country in all of 2021 in only four months. Thousands of Yemeni citizens have reunited with their families abroad for the first time in years. While some elements of the truce have not been fully implemented and more work remains to prevent both sides from reverting back to open conflict, both parties appear to have largely engaged in good faith to uphold their commitments.”

“What the people of Yemen need now is for the truce to hold to allow additional time and space for principled diplomacy and negotiations to achieve a lasting peace.  The truce has offered a glimmer of hope for the people of Yemen who have suffered much loss,” the senators continued.  “The time is now to exercise every diplomatic option to achieve an extension of the truce and allow for more time for negotiation to end this conflict.”

The conflict in Yemen is now in its eighth year.

Full text of the letter is available here.