The landmark truce in Yemen, which has been holding since April, has been renewed for an additional two months through 2 October, UN Special Envoy for the country, Hans Grundberg, announced on Tuesday.
The extension includes a commitment by the Government and Houthi rebels to intensify negotiations to reach an expanded agreement as soon as possible.
The envoy thanked the leadership of both sides for agreeing to the extension, and for their continued constructive engagements.
"I count on the continued cooperation of the parties to meet their commitments and implement all elements of the truce and to negotiate in good faith to reach an expanded truce agreement, and to put Yemen on a path to sustainable peace. The Yemeni people deserve no less," he said in a statement.
Stepping up engagement
Mr. Grundberg has shared a proposal for an expanded deal with the parties and has received "substantive comments" from them.
He said the proposal would provide for the sides to reach agreement on a mechanism for the regular payment of civil servant salaries and pensions, the opening of roads in Taiz and other governorates, opening additional destinations to and from the airport in the capital, Sana'a, and providing fuel to the ports of Hudaydah, and ensuring regular flows.
"An expanded agreement would also provide an opportunity to negotiate a nationwide ceasefire, humanitarian and economic issues, and to prepare for the resumption of the Yemeni-led political process under UN auspices to reach a sustainable and just peace," he added.
The UN-brokered truce first came into effect on 2 April, and for an initial two months. It was renewed for another two months in June, marking the longest period of relative calm in Yemen in more than seven years of conflict.
Road to peace
Among the achievements, reported last month, were a 60 per cent reduction in civilian casualties, and nearly 50 per cent decrease in displacement. Additionally, 26 fuel ships have entered Hudaydah, and there were 36 round-trip flights between Sana'a and Jordan's capital, Amman, and Cairo, Egypt.
Mr. Grundberg underlined that the main objective of the truce continues to be to provide tangible relief to civilians and to create a conducive environment for reaching a peaceful settlement to the conflict through a comprehensive political process.
He will be intensifying engagement with the parties in the coming weeks to ensure full implementation of their obligations under the truce.
"This should include the implementation of the full number and regularity of flights between the agreed destinations and Sana'a International Airport and the number of fuel ships entering Hudaydah port, as stipulated in the truce agreement," he said.
"It is also important to make progress on opening roads in Taiz and other governorates to facilitate the freedom of movement of millions of Yemeni women, men and children, and of goods. The people of Taiz and across Yemen deserve for the truce to deliver for them in all its aspects."