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Warring parties agree to ceasefire in war-torn Yemen amid coronavirus

March 30, 2020 at 1:42 pm

Officials establish a new department for coronavirus patients at Zaid Hospital in Sanaa, Yemen on 28 March 2020 [Mohammed Hamoud/Anadolu Agency]

All fighting groups in Yemen have agreed to a nationwide ceasefire due to the coronavirus outbreak after a call last Wednesday from the UN secretary-general for an immediate end to hostilities.

Yemen has seen a series of fits and starts in efforts to end its bloody civil conflict, which began in 2015 and has created one of the world’s most severe humanitarian crises, according to the United Nations.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on those fighting in Yemen to end hostilities and ramp up efforts to counter a potential outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ: Guterres calls for immediate ceasefire in Yemen

“More than five years of conflict have devastated the lives of tens of millions of Yemenis,” the UN chief said in a statement on Wednesay, adding that an escalation in fighting in the towns of Al Jawf and Ma’rib now threatens to deepen human suffering.

On Sunday, the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, reiterated the secretary-general’s call for an immediate cessation of hostilities to build a conducive environment for achieving a nation-wide ceasefire.

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 Sanaa.