International lobbying for peace in Taiz

Published on 6 February 2012 in News
Nadia Al-Sakkaf & Sadeq Al-Wesabi (author)

Nadia Al-Sakkaf & Sadeq Al-Wesabi

Abandoned sandbags serve as reminders of the conflict that overwhelmed Taiz for ten months.

Abandoned sandbags serve as reminders of the conflict that overwhelmed Taiz for ten months.

TAIZ, Dec. 14 – A day after UN envoy Jamal Benomar's visit to Taiz on Monday, a high-level delegation of diplomats from the five permanent members of the Security Council, along with Gulf nation ambassadors, visited Taiz.

“We want to show solidarity and prove to the Yemenis, before the rest of the world, that we are committed both to resolving the conflict and endorsing peace in the governorate,” said Abdullah Badi, Oman's ambassador to Yemen.

The UN advisor and diplomats were received by the city’s governor. The visits included meeting with involved parties in the conflict, which has tormented locals in Taiz since May.

Following international mediation, the armed opposition agreed to pull back their men and leave public institutions such as schools and hospitals starting from last Monday, December 12.

“It is up to Yemenis to ensure that peace is sustained,” said Benomar. “The initial signs are good.”

Since the beginning of Yemen's youth revolution in Taiz, conflicts have led to the deaths of nearly 70 people, with thousands more injured.

Hammond Abdul-Salem, a resident of Taiz, is optimistic about the return of calm to the city.

He said that many pro- and anti-regime gunmen have disappeared from the city. However, while many barricades and checkpoints have been removed, they remain in some areas.

"Locals are happy about the stable security situation but are afraid that conflicts will erupt again, especially because armed groups remain hidden in some areas," he said.

Abdul-Salem indicated that these groups suddenly vanish when international delegations come to Taiz.

Mohammed Said Al-Sharable, a journalist and anti-regime protester played down the significance of the visits by ambassadors and international delegations to the city, claiming they do nothing but stay in a five-star hotel, eat and depart.

"They didn't meet the martyrs' families and didn't visit Liberty Square or the makeshift hospital," he said. "Their recent visits to the city are meaningless."

Al-Sharable pointed out that during past months, the regime broke any truces or compromises that had been reached.

"I don't rule out that fierce fighting will again break out in the city," he said. "Unfortunately, the ceasefire in Taiz is linked to the mood of President Saleh and his inner circle."