UN announces humanitarian truce in Yemen

UN announces humanitarian ceasefire in Yemen to start on Friday and last till end of Ramadan

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The United Nations announced on Thursday a humanitarian ceasefire in Yemen which will start on Friday and lasts till the end of Ramadan to deliver the humanitarian aids.

"The Secretary-General looks forward to the commitments of all parties to the conflict in Yemen to an unconditional humanitarian pause to start on Friday, 10 July at 23:59 (GMT + 3) until the end of Ramadan," said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric on Thursday.

"We feel we have the expressions necessary by all parties to announce the start of this pause on Friday," said Dujarric.

The truce awaits the Iranian-backed Houthis’ approval after Yemeni government said they are ready for a humanitarian ceasefire.

The government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi had earlier told the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that they are ready for a temporary ceasefire to end the nearly three months of fighting, an Houthi spokesman has said.

"The Yemeni authorities have informed the secretary general of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon of its agreement to implement a truce in the coming days," spokesman Rajeh Badi told Reuters by phone from the Saudi capital, Riyadh, were Hadi’s exiled government had fled.

Hadi’s spokesman said, Hadi had "set guarantees for the success of the truce."

The truce includes the release of detainees by the Houthis, including the defence minister loyal to Hadi. Another guarantee is the Houthis' withdrawal from four southern and eastern provinces in which they are fighting pro-Hadi fighters.

The Houthi-run Saba news agency reported that a humanitarian ceasefire for Yemen is expected to be announced within 24 hours. The report by Saba came as the UN envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, left the capital Sanaa after meeting Houthi leaders.

But the Houthis did not accept the conditions of Hadi’s government as the Houthi leader, Saifullah al Shami, told Associated Press on Wednesday that the truce conditions are "unacceptable" and they are not addressing the country’s humanitarian crisis.   

Humanitarian crisis

The United Nations has declared maximum level of humanitarian emergency in Yemen, and warned of an imminent collapse of the health system.

Around 20 million Yemenis suffer from a lack of water and a million people were displaced from their homes as a result of the armed conflict.

The US State Department said in a statement that a truce should be enforced to allow relief organisations to deliver desperately needed aid, food, medicines and fuel needed by Yemenis.

The siege on most Yemeni ports made relief supplies inaccessible. However, the international Red Cross said that a ship carrying tons of food and three large electric generators docked in the port of Hodeida last week.

The Houthis took control of the Yemeni capital last September, before expanding control over more territory in the country.

A Saudi-led coalition began an extensive air campaign targeting Houthi-held cities across Yemen on March 26 to allow president Hadi and his government -who are in self imposed exile in Riyadh- to return to the capital.

More than 858 Yemeni civilians were killed, including 259 children, and 6,879 others were wounded in the 102-day conflict in Aden city only.

While the death toll since the war began are more than 3,000 people, including 1,500 civilians, have been killed since March, according to the UN.

TRTWorld and agencies