At Yemen talks, UN urges extension of humanitarian ceasefire

Published May 17th, 2015 - 01:09 GMT
Displaced Yemeni children receive aid from UNICEF, the UN children's agency.  The UN envoy to Yemen Sunday called for an extension to the five-day humanitarian truce in the country.  (AFP/File)
Displaced Yemeni children receive aid from UNICEF, the UN children's agency. The UN envoy to Yemen Sunday called for an extension to the five-day humanitarian truce in the country. (AFP/File)

The UN envoy to Yemen urged for an extension to the five-day humanitarian ceasefire in the country, set to expire late Sunday, reported AFP.

The temporary truce, which went into effect Tuesday, was meant to allow for humanitarian aid to reach Yemeni civilians following weeks of airstrikes and ground clashes between opposing forces.

The ceasefire appeared to hold, despite overnight ground fighting Friday and Saturday in the southern city Taiz between Houthi fighters and pro-Hadi combatants.

“I call on all parties to renew their commitment to this truce for five more days at least,” UN Yemen envoy Ismail Ould Sheikh Ahmed said at political talks Sunday in the Saudi capital Riyadh, adding that the truce should become permanent. 

Yemeni political parties gathered for talks Sunday in Riyadh aimed at forming a solution to the ongoing crisis between Houthi rebels and forces loyal to ousted President Abed Rabbou Mansour Hadi.

The Houthis boycotted the three-day meeting, which includes President Hadi, who resigned in January after Shiite Houthi rebels overran the capital Sanaa.  He later fled in March to refuge in Saudi Arabia.  

Since March 26, a coalition of forces led by Saudi Arabia has been conducting airstrikes against Houthi positions across Yemen.  

The UN estimates that over 1,500 people have died in the conflict since March, including over 100 children

 The resulting humanitarian crisis is devastating the already impoverished country, as many Yemenis face severe food and fuel shortages. 


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