The Iran-backed Houthi rebels have turned down a proposal by the UN Special Envoy to Yemen Hans Grundberg on opening roads to the besieged city of Taiz, The Yemeni government’s delegation tasked with discussing Taiz siege.
“We are back to square one because the Houthis rejected UN envoy’s proposal,” said Abdulkareem Shaiban, head of the government’s delegation, adding that the Houthis insisted on opening Al Shuriga road to Sana’a while at the same time refused to open it to Taiz.
“They (the Houthis) only want to have roads opened which they can use to gain economical and militarly benefits, not to mitigate the people’s suffering,” Shaiban said.
Ali Al-Ajar, a member of the government delegation, accused the international community and the UN envoy of being soft with the Houthis, which he believes encouraged the Houthis to refuse to lift their siege on the city.
“He should push for the implementation of his proposal and name and shame the party that rejected it,” Al-Ajar told Arab News. “His policy of holding the stick from the middle will not lead to any solution.”
During the latest round of talks held in Amman between the government and the Houthis on Taiz, Grundberg initially proposed the opening of a main road and four secondary roads around the city, which, contrarry to the Houthis, was accepted by the government.
Taiz city, Yemen’s third-largest city and home to about 4 million people, has been besiged by the Houthis since the breakout of the war in 2015.
In April, the UN Envoy to Yemen announced a cease-fire truce between the Yemeni government and the Houthis.
As per the UN-sponsored truce agreement flights from and to the rebel-held Sana’a Airport have resumed for the first time in years and fuel imports have been allowed into Houthi-controlled ports . However, Taiz remains besiged by the Houthis.