BOISE, Idaho – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the following joint statement regarding the Saudi-led coalition’s decision to extend the unilateral ceasefire in Yemen through Ramadan:
“The Saudi-led coalition’s decision to extend the unilateral ceasefire in Yemen through the holy month of Ramadan is a positive step – one we hope they will uphold and which we hope the Houthis will reciprocate. The Houthis should use this unique opportunity to demonstrate a genuine commitment to end the cycle of violence, rather than pursuing self-serving interests in places like Marib governorate, home to an estimated 3 million Yemenis.
“To avert further needless civilian catastrophe, all sides must seriously commit to de-escalation and constructively engage in the United Nations Special Envoy’s efforts to reach a permanent ceasefire and comprehensive political settlement in Yemen.
“Additionally, any political settlement must be inclusive, and incorporate the views of a wide variety of voices from across the political spectrum, bringing in northerners and southerners in equal measure. We are concerned that the Southern Transition Council’s (STC) declaration of “self-rule” over the south will complicate efforts to ensure a genuinely inclusive dialogue. This is why it’s crucial that both the STC, as well as the Republic of Yemen Government, renew their respective commitments to the Riyadh Agreement.
“As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rise, the threat facing the people of Yemen at present is immense; poverty and malnutrition are rife, thousands remain internally displaced, and nearly half of the country’s health facilities are non-operational.
“Now, more than ever, it is essential that all parties overcome their differences and participate in efforts to find a comprehensive and inclusive political settlement in Yemen.”