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Guterres calls for immediate ceasefire in Yemen

March 25, 2020 at 10:45 pm

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres holds a press conference at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, United States on 1 August 2019 [Atılgan Özdil/Anadolu Agency]

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Wednesday for: “The warring parties in Yemen to immediately cease hostilities and do their best to counter the possible spread of the coronavirus.”

Guterres announced in a statement issued by his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric that: “The current fighting in Al-Jawf and Ma’rib threatens to further deepen human suffering.”

Guterres also called on the warring parties to work with the UN special envoy in order to achieve de-escalation in the country, and make progress regarding economic and humanitarian measures that would alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people.

He stressed that: “The only way to maintain a comprehensive and sustainable solution to the conflict in the country is to adhere to the political track.”

The Hajjah governorate, in the far north border with Saudi Arabia, has been seized by the Houthi militants since the end of 2014.

READ: Saudis torture and ‘disappear’ civilians in Yemen, claims HRW 

The Yemeni authorities have taken several precautionary measures against the coronavirus, including shutting down schools and universities, closing border crossings and airports and suspending prayers in mosques.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organisation’s office in Yemen reiterated that Yemen is free of the virus and that there are no confirmed cases of infection to date.

The UN have disclosed that the conflict in Yemen has led to the deaths and injuries of 70,000 people, while previous human rights reports have estimated that at least 100,000 Yemenis were killed during the war.

For the sixth consecutive year, Yemen has been witnessing intense conflict between the Saudi-backed government forces supported by the Arab coalition since March 2015, and the Iranian-backed Houthi group, which controls several provinces including the capital of Sanaa.