The UN envoy arrives in Yemen for talks on the defeated city

The United Nations (UN) special envoy arrived in Yemen on Wednesday for talks on the reopening of routes to a city blocked by rebels that proved to be the thorniest problem in implementing a fragile truce.

Swedish diplomat Hans Grundberg flew to the capital Sanaa, held by Iranian-backed Houthi insurgents since 2014, less than a week after the truce was renewed for a second two-month period.

Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world, is witnessing what the UN calls the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, seven years after a conflict between the Houthis and a Saudi-led coalition.

Grundberg hailed the extension of the truce, calling it a “positive sign of the seriousness of the parties in supporting and implementing the truce”.

“The Yemenis have seen the tangible benefits of the truce. We have seen significant positive change and we have a responsibility to safeguard it and realize its potential for peace in Yemen, “he told reporters.

Grundberg said he will meet with the rebel leadership to discuss proposals to reopen the roads in Taez, Yemen’s third largest city that has largely been cut off since 2015.

“I hope we will have constructive discussions on our proposal to reopen the roads in Taez and other governorates, as well as on economic and humanitarian measures and the way forward,” he said.

Holding talks on Taez was one of the terms of the truce, along with the resumption of commercial flights from Sanaa and the entry of refueled ships into the rebel-held Hodeida port.

Flights from Sanaa have resumed for Amman and Cairo and oil tankers have docked at Hodeida in an effort to alleviate fuel shortages in Sanaa and elsewhere.

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