UN chief calls for immediate two-week humanitarian truce in Yemen

UN chief calls for immediate two-week humanitarian truce in Yemen

“Ramadan begins in two days,” said Ban Ki-moon, stressing that the Holy Month should be a period for “harmony, peace and reconciliation”.



By (AFP)

Published: Mon 15 Jun 2015, 4:37 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:07 PM

Men look at the destroyed headquarters of Yemen's armed forces. AP photo; (Inset) Ban Ki-moon. AFP photo

Men look at the destroyed headquarters of Yemen's armed forces. AP photo; (Inset) Ban Ki-moon. AFP photo

Geneva — UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Monday called for an immediate two-week humanitarian pause in Yemen to mark Ramadan as high stakes talks got underway in Geneva to try and resolve the conflict.

International powers are keen for a speedy resolution, fearing the growing power of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemeni branch of the militant network which has taken advantage of the chaos to seize territory.

“We do not have a moment to lose,” Ban Ki-moon said, adding that the fighting was being exploited “by some of the world’s most ruthless terrorist groups.”

“I hope this week starts the beginning of the end of the fighting,” Ban said.

“Ramadan begins in two days,” he said, stressing that the Holy Month should be a period for “harmony, peace and reconciliation”.

“I have emphasised the importance of another humanitarian pause for two weeks,” Ban said, after meeting the government delegation.

The UN’s peace envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, said in a statement that Monday would see the start of “preliminary inclusive consultations” on the war.

Analysts however said a breakthrough was “very unlikely”. The delegations will not even begin talks in the same room.

Instead they will start with “what we call proximity talks” in two separate rooms with the envoy shuttling between them “with the hope they can be brought together”, UN spokesman Ahmad Fawzi told reporters in Geneva.

Meanwhile the UN has described the country’s humanitarian crisis as “catastrophic”, with 80 percent of the population — 20 million civilians — in need of aid. 


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