UN Envoy Martin Griffiths urges Yemen parties to abide by ceasefire amid coronavirus

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UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths said Yemeni parties cannot continue fighting each other while also combating the spread of the coronavirus global pandemic at the same time, urging all sides that only joint efforts will ensure Yemen has a chance.

“There was an outpouring of calls from across Yemen in human rights organizations, in women's movements in political societies and governorate institutions all saying one clear thing which was and is we need to face the virus, we cannot continue fighting and fight the virus at the same time,” Griffiths told Al Arabiya’s UN Bureau Chief Talal al-Haj on Wednesday.

“But with the full involvement of the government of Yemen and Ansar Allah [Houthis] to combat the virus the ministries of Health, for example, the technical facilities that are inadequate in Yemen and need to be provided across the board to at least give us a fair chance. And I think the people of Yemen made it absolutely clear that only if there is a joint effort will we have a chance to keep Yemen safe,” Griffiths added.

His interview with Al Arabiya came a day before a two-week ceasefire in Yemen announced by the Arab Coalition expired on Thursday.

Since the ceasefire was announced, the Iranian-backed Houthi militia has not accepted the coalition's ceasefire announcement, and violence has continued in several provinces including Marib and in other provinces.

Griffiths said that the United Nations is aiming to have a mechanism in place to ensure that the ceasefire could continue under their supervision, especially in hotspot areas such as the strategic port city of Hodeidah.

“Now what we have in mind and we have been developing for some months and negotiating by the way between the parties is a mechanism run by us run by the United Nations as indeed is the case in Hodeidah, which progressively rolls out throughout the country, through all the fronts of the country,” Griffiths told Al Arabiya.

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