U.N. urges Yemen humanitarian ceasefire

Smoke billows following an air-strike by the Saudi-led coalition on the headquarters of the Special Security Forces, formerly known as the Central Security, on May 27, 2015, in the Yemeni capital Sanaa. (AFP)

A new humanitarian pause to fighting in Yemen has been urged by the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday.

In a unanimous statement, the 15-member council backed a call by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, saying that peace talks should swiftly be held.

The statement added that the council was “deeply disappointed” that talks scheduled for Geneva last week were pushed back.

Council members “endorsed the U.N. secretary general’s call for a further humanitarian pause in order to allow assistance to reach the Yemeni people urgently,” said the statement.

“The consultations in Geneva need to happen without pre-conditions,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told Agence France-Presse.

“We would also like to see an immediate cessation of hostilities but we are not in a situation where we need to see a cessation before the talks begin,” he said.

An announcement on a new date for the talks, possibly around June 10, was imminent, a diplomatic source told AFP.

A five-day pause earlier this month allowed aid agencies to reach civilians caught in the fighting, but U.N. efforts to prolong the truce failed.

Yemen has been engulfed in turmoil since Houthi militias seized the capital Sanaa in September and advanced on the southern city of Aden, forcing President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi to flee into exile in Saudi Arabia.

On March 26, Saudi Arabia led a coalition in launching air strikes on Yemen to push back the Iranian-backed Houthis and restore Hadi’s authority.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 13:55 - GMT 10:55