The ceasefire in Yemen, announced by the Arab Coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, is a chance for a political solution in the war ravaged country and will give Yemen an opportunity to fight the potential threat of the coronavirus outbreak.
The ceasefire would last two weeks and comes in response to United Nations’ calls to halt the military campaign amid the coronavirus pandemic, the coalition spokesman, Col Turki Al Malki said.
The UN needs to act quickly, exert all pressure on Al Houthis to commit to peace and build on the decision to advance peace talks
It aims at giving all sides in Yemen a chance “to discuss proposals, steps, and mechanisms for sustainable ceasefire in Yemen ... for a comprehensive political solution in Yemen.”
The ceasefire decision comes at a critical time for Yemen.
Poor health care infrastructure
The country has not officially reported any Covid-19 case but the United Nations and aid groups warned that if an outbreak hits Yemen it will be catastrophic as the health care infrastructure in the country is almost non-functional since the Iran-backed Al Houthi militias overthrew the legitimate government five years ago.
“This a wise and responsible decision,” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Anwar Gargash commented Thursday.
He hoped that Al Houthi militias would rise to the occasion and allow the international community to step up its humanitarian efforts to protect the Yemeni people from the Covid-19 crisis.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who called for a ceasefire in all global conflicts to focus on combating the pandemic, also welcomed the coalition announcement.
“This can help to advance efforts towards peace as well as the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.” He urged Al Houthis “to follow through on their commitment to immediately cease hostilities.”
The ceasefire will likely be followed by the resumption of peace talks, the coalition said. Previous talks failed because Al Houthis refused to commit to the UN resolutions and the 2014 GCC-sponsored talks.
However, shortly after the announcement, residents in the Marib province said a missile, which the Yemeni government said came from Al Houthi side, struck a security building in the city centre.
The UN needs to act quickly, exert all pressure on Al Houthis to commit to peace and build on the decision to advance peace talks.
The militias, and their main backer Iran, must commit to the peace efforts for the sake of the Yemeni people who are faced with two great challenges today — the ruthless tyranny of Al Houthi militias and the looming danger of Covid-19.