CAIRO (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said that the efforts to extend the truce in Yemen still stand, Al Arabiya TV reported on Wednesday, after an initial U.N.-brokered pact between a Saudi-led coalition and the Houthi movement expired early this month.
The kingdom, the coalition and the Riyadh-backed Yemeni government are “keen on extending the truce,” the Saudi-owned TV quoted Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud as saying.
The United Nations is pressing for an extended and expanded truce that would build on the two-month one that expired on Oct. 2 after being rolled over twice, and which has brought the longest stretch of relative calm in the seven-year conflict.
U.S. Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking headed back to region on Tuesday to support the U.N.-led negotiations with Yemeni parties, according to the State Department.
Lenderking last week called on the Iran-aligned Houthis, de facto authorities in the north, to show more flexibility in the negotiations, specifically on the United Nations’ proposed mechanism to pay public sector wages.
The Saudi-led coalition intervened in March 2015 after the Houthis ousted the internationally recognized government from the capital, Sanaa. The group says it is fighting a corrupt system and foreign aggression.
The conflict has killed tens of thousands and caused a dire humanitarian crisis that has pushed millions into hunger.
(Reporting by Enas Alashray; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Toby Chopra)