UN envoy regrets lack of progress to reopen Yemen roads

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The United Nations envoy to Yemen on Monday expressed regret that the country’s truce had failed to open roads to the besieged southwestern city of Taiz, key to easing the dire humanitarian crisis.

Yemen’s warring parties agreed to extend an April truce just hours before it was due to expire earlier this month.

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“Four and a half months in, the truce continues to broadly hold in military terms,” Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg told the UN Security Council.

“Road openings in Taiz and other governorates continue to be at the forefront of my efforts.... It is regrettable that, despite these efforts, there has not been more progress achieved.”

Yemen has been gripped by conflict since the Iran-backed Houthis took control of the capital Sanaa in 2014, triggering an intervention in support of the internationally recognized government.

The truce has provided a rare respite from violence for much of the country.

“For the sake of the people of Taiz, the wider population and the economy, the parties need to agree on opening roads as soon as possible,” Grundberg said.

More than two thirds of Yemen’s 30 million people need humanitarian aid, a UN official said last month, and the country has been pushed to the brink of famine.

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