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Iran Press TV

UN Yemen envoy hopeful warring parties to reach ceasefire agreement in 'immediate future'

Iran Press TV

Thursday, 16 April 2020 11:27 PM

United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, says he expects the warring parties to formally reach agreements "in the immediate future" on a nationwide ceasefire, practical economic and humanitarian measures as well as resumption of the political process.

Griffiths told the UN Security Council on Thursday he has been holding negotiations with the parties on the texts of his proposals for the past two weeks.

"We expect them to agree on and formally adopt these agreements in the immediate future," the top UN official commented.

He said the "key humanitarian and economic measures may include: releases of prisoners and detainees, opening Sana'a International Airport, paying civil servant salaries, opening access roads and ensuring the entry of ships carrying essential commodities into Hudaydah ports," emphasizing that all such steps "will help directly and indirectly in the fight against COVID-19."

"The conversations we had with the two parties, and our consultations with the Saudi-led coalition ... are continuous, detailed and constructive," Griffiths said.

He said "good progress" was being made and the United Nations was redoubling its efforts to bridge outstanding differences before reaching a final agreement.

Griffiths also highlighted that Yemen cannot survive war on two fronts.

"Yemen cannot face two fronts at the same time: a war and a pandemic. And the new battle that Yemen faces in confronting the virus will be all-consuming. We can do no less than stop this war and turn all our attention to this new threat", he said.

Griffiths added, "The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic to Yemen threatens to bring deeper and more widespread suffering to the people. There cannot be a more timely moment for the two parties to commit to silencing the guns and ending the conflict through a peaceful, political solution."

Last Friday, Yemen reported its first case of infection with the novel coronavirus in the oil-producing southern province of Hadhramaut, which is under the control of Saudi-sponsored militiamen loyal to the country's former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

The supreme national emergency committee for COVID-19 in Yemen said the infected patient was identified in the port town of Ash Shihr, and he was in stable condition and receiving care.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in order to bring Hadi back to power and crush the Houthi Ansarullah movement.

More than half of Yemen's hospitals and clinics have been destroyed or closed during the bitter war.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past five years.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have purchased billions of dollars' worth of weapons from the United States, France and the United Kingdom in their war on Yemen.

Riyadh and its allies have been widely criticized for the high civilian death toll resulted from their bombing campaign in Yemen.

At least 80% of the 28 million-strong population is reliant on aid to survive in what the United Nations has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

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