Saudi Arabia announces Yemen cease-fire amid pandemic

9th Apr 2020
Saudi Arabia announces Yemen cease-fire amid pandemic

By Ali Semerci

 

ISTANBUL (AA): Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces declared Wednesday a two-week long cease-fire in Yemen starting from Thursday amid coronavirus outbreak, according to local media.

The unilateral cease-fire could be extended, the official SPA news agency quoted coalition spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki as saying.

Al-Maliki said the move supports Yemeni Government’s decision to accept the cease-fire call by UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths to curb the spread of coronavirus.

A Houthi leader on Wednesday “welcomed” an announcement by the Saudi-led coalition to support a ceasefire amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi said in a tweet that they are waiting for the ceasefire to be applied practically.

But shortly before the Saudi announcement, a senior Houthi official, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, posted a detailed, eight-page plan to end the war on his Twitter account, which called for a withdrawal of foreign troops and the end of the coalition’s blockade on Yemen’s land, sea and air ports.

The UN’s Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the coalition’s announcement, and called on the Yemen government “to follow through on their commitment to immediately cease hostilities.” Guterres had recently called for a ceasefire of all global conflicts in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

“This can help to advance efforts towards peace as well as the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Yemen.

Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014, when the Houthi [Ansar Allah] rebels overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led military coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.

Tens of thousands of Yemenis, including civilians, are believed to have been killed in the conflict, which has led to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis as millions remain at risk of starvation.

 

* Writing by Zehra Nur Duz in Ankara.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo: A view of an empty streets after precautions against coronavirus (COVID-19) in Sanaa, Yemen on April 4, 2020. Photographer: Mohammed Hamoud/AA]

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