UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The UN head called for more pressure on the warring parties of Yemen to come together to organize a war ceasefire that has cost more than 10,000 lives and 2 million has displaced people from the worst humanitarian disaster in the world.
Yemeni people suffer “terribly” and COVID-19 worsens their situation, Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday.
He spoke on Wednesday afternoon for a private briefing by the UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths to the UN Security Council.
In 2014, Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi rebels overran the capital, Sanaa, and much of northern Yemen, forcing the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi into exile. A US-backed Saudi-led coalition intervened the following year to try to restore Hadi’s rule.
The war ended in a stalemate, forcing large regional players to find a way out.
Guterres said that the United Nations has worked to bring the parties together and that it “promotes confidence-building measures, related to the use of the airport, the ports, the payment of salaries and the beginning of a political process.”
“I am still confident that this is possible,” said the Secretary-General, “and we must pressure all parties to the conflict and all relevant actors to ensure that the intense discussions we have had in this everything led to a positive outcome. ”
Last month, Griffiths reported “significant progress” in the ceasefire negotiations, but warned of grim challenges as the corona virus spreads at an unprecedented rate across the poorest nation in the Arab world.
He urged the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthis to quickly resolve the disparities between the humanitarian and economic measures needed to advance the peace efforts and help the country fight the virus.
Diplomats have emphasized that a peace deal in Yemen must reconcile not only the government and the Houthis, but also the south and the north.
Guterres said the Yemenis are a generous people “who have always struggled to find unity, but they are a people who deserve this.”
On Monday, the Saudi-led coalition announced a breakthrough in the south.
The coalition said that the Southern Transitional Council of the Separatists, backed by the United Arab Emirates and the country’s Saudi Arabian-backed internationally recognized government, has agreed a ceasefire after months of conflict.
The agreement aims to close the gap between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, nominal allies in the war against the Houthis.
South Yemen existed from 1967 until its unification in 1990 as an independent nation and the Secessionist Council, an umbrella group of heavily armed and well-funded militias backed by the UAE since 2015, hopes to restore an independent South Yemen.
In addition to the ongoing war, Yemen is also facing a serious humanitarian crisis.
A UN humanitarian request for Yemen this month fell $ 1 billion less than what aid agencies needed.
About 75% of the UN programs for the country, covering almost every sector from food to health and nutrition, have closed their doors or limited activity. The World Food Program had to cut the ration in half and the UN-funded health services were reduced in nearly 200 rural hospitals.
Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed without permission.