By Tim Nanns
With the ceasefire ending, the Saudi-led coalition reportedly resumed its airstrikes on Yemen, Sunday evening. According to Reuters news agency, the strikes mainly hit the area in and around the contested port city of Aden.
Exiled Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi and his government have been holding a conference in Riyadh since Sunday, to discuss a way out of the Yemen crisis. The conference is, however, taking place without the participation of representatives from former president Ali Abdullah Saleh or the Houthi militias.
UN special envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed called, on the sidelines of the conference, for an extension of the ceasefire to continue the delivery of humanitarian aid. Army elements allied with the Houthis also voiced their support for a continuation, according to Houthi-controlled Yemeni state news agency SABA.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said an extension of the truce would be “difficult” due to Houthi actions. Kerry told reporters in the South Korean capital Seoul on Monday that the group moved “some missile-launching capacity to the border”.
The ceasefire, which ended on Sunday afternoon, had largely been observed by the rival groups, with fighting taking place on a much smaller scale than before and a halt of the air strikes.
Meanwhile, tensions are rising in the Gulf of Aden, with SABA reporting that the Iranian aid ship ‘Iran Shahed’ is to arrive in Hodaida port on 21 May. The Iranian navy announced it would be escorting the ship to the port to prevent it from being stopped by the coalition blockade. The ‘Iran Shahed’ is designated as an aid vessel, carrying foodstuff, medical supplies and peace activists.
Since Saudi Arabia has already warned it would intercept any Iranian vessel approaching Yemen, this could mark a significant escalation in the conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Hodaida port is under the control of the Houthis.
The Saudi-led coalition had stated earlier that an extension of the ceasefire would be dependent on the behaviour of the Houthis and their allies. The coalition’s renewed air strikes make it unlikely that the ceasefire would be resumed anytime soon.