Saudi-led coalition announces 2-week ceasefire in Yemen
After a UN call to halt the hostilities amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Saudi-UAE coalition has declared a ceasefire in the war against Yemen that has killed more than 100,000 people and pushed millions to the verge of famine.
Iran Press/ Middle East: The suspension of the coalition's military operations is expected to go into effect at 12pm local time (09:00 GMT) on Thursday and last for two weeks, Saudi Arabia's state-run news agency SPA quoted coalition spokesperson Colonel Turki al-Malki as saying.
The announcement came days after the United Nations called for a halt in hostilities amid the coronavirus pandemic, Al Jazeera reported.
SPA claimed on Wednesday that the ceasefire is intended to help prevent a coronavirus outbreak in Yemen, while also allowing for a de-escalation in the fighting.
There was no immediate comment by the Houthis.
Mohammed Abdulsalam, the spokesman of the Houthi movement, earlier said the group sent to the UN a comprehensive vision which includes an end to the five-year war and to "the blockade" imposed on Yemen.
"[Our proposal] will lay the foundations for a political dialogue and a transitional period," Abdulsalam said in a Twitter post on Wednesday.
Last week, UN special envoy Martin Griffiths sent a proposal to Mansour Hadi's resigned government, the Saudi-UAE military coalition that supports it and the Houthi movement that controls the capital, Sanaa, and most of northern Yemen.
The proposal called for a nationwide ceasefire, including halting all air, ground and naval hostilities, and for the parties to ensure compliance by forces on front lines.
Yemen's call for UN’s act to stop Saudi war amid coronavirus outbreak
Earlier, the head of Yemen’s Supreme Revolutionary Committee Mohammed Ali al-Houthi called on the UN and its Security Council to act for stopping the Saudi coalition’s war on Yemen so that it could counter the coronavirus outbreak.
Hours after his request, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a message: "Today I am calling for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world."
"It is time to put the armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives – the COVID-19 pandemic," he stressed.
There have been temporary ceasefires in Yemen’s war but the Saudi-led Coalition has violated the ceasefire with strikes every time.
Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing Ansarullah.
The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the Saudi-led war has claimed the lives of over 60,000 Yemenis since January 2016.
The war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.