UN Security Council Calls for Yemen Ceasefire, Focus on Coronavirus

UN envoy says good progress made in indirect talks

The UN Security Council has backed a call by Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres for all sides in Yemen to accept an immediate ceasefire and shift focus to fighting the coronavirus. The virus has just reached war-torn Yemen, which has virtually no medical infrastructure to fight it. 

This comes amid the Saudi forces engaged in a partial, two-week ceasefire in Yemen, though the Houthis have rejected it because the Saudis did not end a naval blockade of the port, and moreover have continued their offensive in the north.

The Houthis have been engaged in an offensive themselves around Maarib Province, but that hasn’t stopped the two sides from engaging in UN-backed indirect talks. According to UN Special Envoy Martin Griffith, the talks are making “very good progress,” which he attributed to the coronavirus.

Griffith predicted a nationwide ceasefire and direct talks in the “immediate future, though the Houthis are still saying any such moves require a lifting of the naval blockade. Letting humanitarian aid into Yemen would be a big step in fighting coronavirus, though the Saudis have preferred to retain a stranglehold on aid.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.