Gulf envoys: No ceasefire unless Houthis retreat

Saudi envoy says conditions for a ceasefire had been spelled out in the recently-adopted Security Council resolution

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There will be no immediate ceasefire in Yemen unless Houthi rebels withdraw from seized territory, Gulf envoys told U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon on Monday.

Saudi Ambassador to the United Nations Abdallah al-Muallami told Agence France-Presse that "certain conditions" must be met for the Saudi-led air campaign “Operation Decisive Storm” to be paused.

"We all want to see an early end to the military hostilities, but there are conditions conducive to having an early end to the hostilities," Muallami said following a meeting with Ban.

The Saudi envoy said conditions for a ceasefire had been spelled out in the recently-adopted Security Council resolution.

The resolution adopted last week demands that the Houthis pull back from territory seized, including the capital Sanaa, end their violent campaign and return to peace talks.

With the air strikes claiming more civilian lives, Ban has called for an "immediate ceasefire" in Yemen, saying the country was "in flames" and that it was time for a "passage to real peace."

Following the resignation of Moroccan diplomat Jamal Benomar as Yemen peace envoy, Ban moved to appoint Mauritanian diplomat Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed to be his new representative.

Ban informed the Gulf envoys of his choice but the ambassadors did not specify whether they would accept the mediation, which has taken on a new urgency as the death toll climbs.

"We have not presented any reaction yet. It is being studied in the capitals and we will have a reaction as quickly as possible," said Muallami.

Since March 26, Saudi Arabia has led an alliance of Arab countries in air strikes against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebel group and militias of the deposed leader Ali Abdullah Saleh.

[With AFP]

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