Iran backed Houthis have said that they will not extend the UN-brokered cease-fire in Yemen, rejecting demands from around the world, including from US President Joe Biden, for the movement to uphold the cease-fire and open roads in the besieged city of Taiz.
The movement’s Supreme Political Council criticized the actions taken in response to Biden’s visit to the area, which included calls for them to strengthen the cease-fire, alleging that these requests “affect the sovereignty, security, and stability of Yemen” and vowed not to extend the cease-fire.
“The SPC deplored the talk about understandings about extending the truce, stressing that the truce, which the side of the aggression did not abide by the implementation of its terms, represented a shocking and disappointing experience that cannot be repeated in the future,” the movement said in a statement carried by their official media.
The US president met with Saudi officials on Saturday, and a joint Saudi-American statement that followed was released on Sunday urged the Houthis to adhere to all the parameters of the truce, including abandoning their siege of Taiz, Yemen’s third-largest city, stressing that the truce has achieved “the longest period of peace in Yemen in six years.”
The Houthis were urged to respect the ceasefire and keep the roads open in Taiz and the other provinces by other American officials, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The Houthis responded to the calls by announcing that they would not extend the ceasefire and threatening to carry out lethal attacks throughout Yemen, primarily in the central province of Marib, in order to end what they refer to as “the blockade” and seize control of Marib’s oil, gas, and electricity facilities.
“To Biden, our country will not be left under siege and occupation. Our oil and gas resources will not be left in the hands of thieves and corrupt people,” Hussein Al-Ezzi, a Houthi leader, said on Twitter.
The UN-mediated cease-fire began on April 2 and was extended for an additional two months in June.
The ceasefire has significantly reduced violence and made it possible for commercial flights to resume from Sanaa Airport for fuel ships to resume their journeys to Hodeidah Port.
The Houthis’ refusal to open Taiz’s main thoroughfares and subsequent suggestion that the Yemeni government open the city’s minor, abandoned road dealt a serious blow to the truce.
Generals in the Yemeni army believe that the Houthis’ intermittent attacks and their relocation and mobilization of personnel and military hardware outside of vital cities like Marib and Taiz indicate that they are getting ready for new military operations when the cease-fire expires.
The Houthis are charged with committing 188 violations over the last three days in Hodeidah, Taiz, Marib, and Hajjah, according to the Yemeni army, which claims eight troops were killed and nine others were injured in Houthi attacks.
The US Yemen ambassador Tim Lenderking and Yemen’s foreign minister Ahmed Awadh bin Mubarak reportedly spoke on Sunday about bringing about peace in Yemen and lifting the Houthi blockade on Taiz.
“I reiterated the centrality of the besieged #Taiz issue. I explained that Taiz can’t be left behind and the #Houthis must end their atrocities against the populated city,” the Yemeni minister tweeted.