UNITED NATIONS Yemen’s president told the United Nations on Monday that he has asked the Saudi-led coalition to start a 7-day ceasefire on Dec. 15 to coincide with U.N.-sponsored peace talks aimed at ending months of fighting that has killed almost six,000 individuals.
“I have notified the leadership of the Coalition of our intention to cease fire for a period of seven days, beginning December 15 till December 21,” President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi said in a letter to U.N. Secretary-Common Ban Ki-moon.
“This will coincide with the beginning of consultations and will automatically be renewed upon commitment by the (Iran-backed) Houthis,” he added.
An unofficial English translation of Hadi’s letter to Ban was attached to the Arabic original.
Hadi’s letter, which it said was also sent to the U.N. Security Council, confirmed remarks created earlier on Monday by U.N. particular envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who mentioned Hadi’s Saudi-backed exiled government and the Houthis were committed to the peace method laid down by the Security Council in April.
“I hope you would inform the U.N. envoy of the require to ensure that the Houthis would respect the ceasefire, and to take practical steps to guarantee adherence to the permanent ceasefire, so that the Coalition forces would not deal with any breach of the ceasefire,” Hadi said.
He added that the ceasefire came “out of our want to develop an atmosphere for the good results of the U.N.-led consultations that the government intends to participate (in) in the coming days, and in order to assist avoid additional bloodshed and expand the healthcare and humanitarian relief efforts.”
Forces loyal to Hadi, backed by air strikes and ground forces from a mostly Gulf Arab coalition, have been locked for nine months in a civil war with the Houthis, who rule the capital Sanaa and other cities.
Preceding U.N.-mediated negotiations to end the conflict via dialogue failed as battles rage across the country and Saudi-led warplanes bomb positions of the Houthi group and its Yemeni army allies.
Earlier attempts at ceasefires in the conflict fell apart after the two sides accused each and every other of violations.
Senior U.N. officials have stated that Yemen, which was already in dire need of help before the conflict, is facing a serious humanitarian crisis, which has been exacerbated by a Saudi-led naval blockade.
(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau Editing by Sandra Maler and Ken Wills)