Ceasefire takes effect in Yemen as peace talks begin

United Nations spokesman announces that ceasefire has taken effect in Yemen as UN sponsored peace talks begin in undisclosed location in Switzerland

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Anti-Houthi fighters of the Southern Popular Resistance stand on a tank in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden, May 10, 2015

UN spokesman Ahmad Fawzi announced on Tuesday that the warring parties started a ceasefire in Yemen as simultaneous peace talks are underway in Switzerland.

"The UN-sponsored consultations aimed at finding a durable solution to the Yemen crisis started today in Switzerland. These consultations seek to establish a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire, secure improvements to the humanitarian situation and a return to a peaceful and orderly political transition," said a UN statement read out by UN spokesman Ahmad Fawzi to a news briefing in Geneva.

Fawzi also added that the representatives of warring parties including Yemeni government and Houthi forces have arrived in Switzerland and began peace talks aimed at reaching a permanent ceasefire and political transition

Ceasefire will continue up till the 21st of December and will be renewed automatically with the commitment of the other party.

Two previous attempts failed

Iranian-backed Houthis have been battling with the Saudi-led coalition since late March, in which the UAE is also playing a big role.

As a result of Houthi aggression, Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi had to temporarily move to the Saudi capital Riyadh, and formally request Arab states to help “save Yemen” from Houthi expansion.

Saudi Arabia led a military coalition that formally intervened in Yemen in March 25th.

Soldiers loyal to Yemeni government aim their rifles during a training exercise in Taiz December 13, 2015. (Photo: Reuters)

Although Iran did not formally announce its support of the Houthi rebels' actions towards the dissolution of parliament made against President Hadi, the militant group has received extensive military support from Iran over the years.

In early September, 67 Saudi-led coalition soldiers were killed during a rebel missile attack over a coalition base in Marib which is located in western Yemen.

At least 80 people, most of them soldiers and border guards, have been killed in Saudi Arabia during clashes.

Seventy troops that belong to the UAE, have so far been killed. Many Bahraini soldiers and one Qatari soldier have also lost their lives.

A Yemeni fighter loyal to Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi walks at the beach in the Dabab district in Taez province, on December 13, 2015 [AFP]

Yemen grapples with humanitarian crisis

War in the country has triggered an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

According to the United Nations, at least 5,800 people have been killed in the on-going civil war in Yemen, nearly half of them civilians, and more than 27,000 injured since March.

Currently, 80 percent of Yemen’s population is in desperate need of humanitarian aid to meet their basic needs or protect their fundamental rights, including security and safety of civilians and provision of essential services.

Twenty million people in the country are in need of aid, 13 million are facing food shortages and 9.4 million are having difficulties accessing drinking water.

TRTWorld and agencies