A Chance for Peace in Yemen: The Ceasefire and Geneva 2 talks.
A new ceasefire agreement starts tonight, the Geneva peace talks start tomorrow.
Tonight at midnight a new ceasefire starts in Yemen. It was agreed on by all warring parties. This ceasefire is the fifth attempt to stop hostilities and allow humanitarian aid to reach victims of the war. Salam for Yemen (SFY) calls on all parties to respect the agreement. All previous truces to stop the fighting were breached, either by the Saudi-led coalition or Houthi rebels, sometimes only within hours of the agreement.
Yemeni citizens also fear an intensification of the fighting just before the agreed starting moment of the ceasefire, as this has been the case in the past. SFY calls on all parties to refrain from such actions.
The ceasefire was announced this weekend and is set to coincide with the week-long Geneva peace talks. The peace talks starting tomorrow, December 14th, are the second Geneva peace talks on Yemen since the outbreak of the conflict in March 2015. As opposed to the failed Geneva peace talks in June 2015, that even failed to broker a lasting ceasefire, Houthi leaders have committed to participating in the talks this time.
According to Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the aim of the peace talks is to develop a plan for the implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions, including a measure adopted in April 2015 which demanded that all parties, in particular the Houthis, immediately and unconditionally end violence and refrain from further unilateral actions that threatened the political transition based on the GCC.
It remains to be seen whether there will be a consensus around such a proposition. For SFY, in order to ease the immense suffering of the Yemeni people the priority of the peace talks should be:
- ALL PARTIES COMMITTING TO A LASTING CEASEFIRE AND A DEFINITE END TO HOSTILITIES
- IMMEDIATE ACCESS FOR HUMANITARIAN AID TO YEMEN AND ENDING THE AIR AND NAVAL BLOCKADE
Agreeing to ceasefire during the talks, which civil society, the Yemeni people, as well as, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon have called for for months, is a promising sign for the upcoming Geneva 2 talks. Yet, to be successful and to give peace a chance in Yemen, the Geneva 2 talks need to lead to an immediate end to hostilities and an end to the de-facto embargo on Yemen for life-essential goods.
SFY president Sadek Alsaar will be in Geneva during the talks to remind leaders of the priorities identified above, and to evaluate the progress of the talks.