Yemen’s warring sides negotiate on lifting siege on Taiz

The truce marks the first breakthrough in more than seven years in efforts to end the war in Yemen that has killed tens of thousands of people and pushed the country to the brink of starvation.

Sanaa: Representatives of the Yemen government and the Houthi militia have started meetings in Jordan’s capital Amman to discuss lifting of a siege on Taiz city, which holds strategic significance in the war-torn nation’s southwestern region.

The UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg said that the talks are under his auspices and he has spent the last few days in Jordan talking with Yemen’s political heavyweights, reports Xinhua news agency.

The government-controlled Taiz has been under siege since the civil war erupted in Yemen in late 2014.

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Lifting the blockade would facilitate the movement of citizens and allow humanitarian aid access.

This is also the last major term to be fulfilled pursuant to the agreement reached by warring sides before the two-month ceasefire starting on April 2.

The truce marks the first breakthrough in more than seven years in efforts to end the war in Yemen that has killed tens of thousands of people and pushed the country to the brink of starvation.

Last week, the Houthis said they were considering a request by the UN to extend the ongoing truce with the Yemeni government, which expires on June 2.

As the talks between the warring sides continued, hundreds of people on Wednesday took to the streets in Taiz to protest against the siege.

A local official told Xinhua that “large demonstrations were organised across the neighbourhoods of Taiz demanding the opening of closed crossings and roads leading to their city”.

He said the demonstrators marched across streets in Taiz with banners calling the UN to lift the Houthis’ siege and blockade of the city controlled by the Yemeni government and holding strategic significance.

They urged the UN to accelerate efforts and pressure the Houthis to open the blocked roads and facilitate their normal movement to and from the neighbourhoods in Taiz.

Taiz Province Governor Nabil Shamsan attended one of the demonstrations and said that “it is not acceptable to address humanitarian issues in Yemen without lifting the siege imposed on the city of Taiz”.

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