Saudi FM: Yemen ceasefire starts on May 12

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir (R) during a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry after talks in Paris. (AP)

Saudi Arabia announced on Friday that a five-day ceasefire in Yemen will start on May 12.

The statement was made by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir during a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry after talks in Paris.

"We have made a decision that the ceasefire will begin this Tuesday, May 12, at 11.00 pm and will last for five days subject to renewal if it works out," Al Jubeir said.

"The ceasefire will end should Houthis or their allies not live up to the agreement -- this is a chance for the Houthis to show that they care about their people and they care about the Yemen people," al-Jubeir added.

Al-Jubeir said the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen is ready to halt airstrikes if Houthis cooperate.

Kerry said the ceasefire would take place "provided that the Houthi agree that there will be no bombing, no shooting, no movement of their troops or manoeuvring to reposition for military advantage (and) no movement of heavy weapons".

He added: "The ceasefire is conditional on the Houthis agreeing to live by these commitments."

There were indications that the Houthis would agree to the ceasefire, he said, explaining that the date was chosen to give the Houthis time to give orders to their fighters in the field.

"It is not hard if you pass the word and give strict orders to your people," Kerry said. "Our hope is that the Houthis will spread the word rapidly."

He stressed that the pause in hostilities was a "renewable commitment" that, if it held, "opens the door to possibility of an extension".

"This is an important moment," he said, and anyone who cares about Yemen "should take clear notice of the fact that a humanitarian catastrophe is building", with signs the country was running out of food, medicine and fuel.

The announcement in Paris came hours after the Saudi-led coalition carrying out airstrikes in Yemen declared a rebel stronghold along the kingdom's border a "military target" and gave residents an ultimatum to leave the region by nightfall.

(with Agencies)

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47
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