The United Nations urges peace talks in Yemen

The UN Security Council welcomes humanitarian ceasefire in Yemen and calls for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to hold conference on a political solution to Yemen’s crisis

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

In a statement released after the humanitarian cease fire in Yemen began, the UN Security Council urged all sides to allow humanitarian aid to reach civilians and called for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to hold a conference on a political solution for the Yemen crisis, Reuters has reported.

UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville said in a news briefing in Geneva on Tuesday that the total number of civilians killed since March 26 stood at 828, including 182 children and 91 women, with a further 1,500 wounded -raising international concerns about a humanitarian disaster as locals are left homeless and without food, medicine and fuel.

"We are committed to respect this, but the coalition will continue its intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance in case it has to respond, we will be ready to react to any violation of the pause. We are very clear. If they do not respect, we will continue,” Saudi General and Arab coalition leader Ibrahim al-Assiri said emphasizing the coalition's intent to retain their end of the ceasefire. 

UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos also urged both sides to respect the truce.

"This pause will provide a respite for civilians and allow the delivery of food, medical supplies and other essential items to people who have been trapped in conflict zone," she said.

The UN Security Council has emphasized the need for mutual talks for permanent peace and stability in Yemen, and called on all parties to attend without preconditions since the "severe humanitarian consequences" of the ongoing violence are a concern for most of the Council members. 

The Saudi-led coalition insists the negotiations should be held in the Gulf region while the UN and others urge a neutral site. The UN is concerned that the dispute over the location will hinder peace efforts, AP has reported.

"All parties will need to transparently and reliably suspend military operations for the truce to hold,” a spokesperson for the UN Security Council said.

The Saudi-led coalition warns that whether the cease fire holds or not depends on the actions of the Iranian-backed Houthis.

In Washington, US Army Col. Steve Warren said using Iranian warships to accompany the ship is not necessary and Iran should just send the cargo vessel to Djibouti, where humanitarian efforts for Yemen are being coordinated.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said on Wednesday that no countries participating in the Saudi-led coalition would be allowed to inspect an Iranian ship making its way to Yemen with humanitarian aid, state media reported.

"Iran understands that they can't afford to play games with humanitarian assistance to people who are in dire need," Josh Earnest said. "The Iranians know as well as anyone that a political stunt to defy their regional rivals outside the UN system is provocative and risks a collapse of the UN-led humanitarian cease fire."

TRTWorld and agencies