January 19, 2019

Is the Worst Over in Yemen?

“U.N. Secretary General António Guterres on Thursday announced a cease-fire between Yemen’s warring parties in the vital Red Sea port city of Hodeida, offering a rare bit of good news about a conflict that has reduced the Middle East’s poorest country into the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.

But longtime observers questioned whether the deal struck in Rimbo, Sweden, marks a true turning point in a four-year-old conflict that has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, and brought the country to the brink of famine. Many fear it will be another false start after more than four years of frustrated diplomatic efforts that have already seen two U.N. envoys resign in failure.

“This is obviously a positive step,” said Gerald Feierstein, a former U.S. ambassador to Yemen, saying it is too soon to know whether the parties have the political will to implement their agreements. “We should be a little cautious about breaking out the champagne bottle.””

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