Yemen president agrees to 72-hour ceasefire
Sanaa, Oct 18 (IANS) Yemen’s President Abdu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has officially agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire between the warring parties in the country, as proposed by the United Nations.
The country’s Foreign Minister Abdul-Malik Mekhlafi tweeted: “The president agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire to be extended if the other party (Houthis) adheres to it.”
The minister added that the military commission responsible for overseeing ceasefires will be activated to lift the siege on Taiz during the 72-hour cessation of hostilities, Xinhua news agency reported.
A government official said that a fresh round of peace talks sponsored by the United Nations will probably start after the three-day truce.
The announcement comes hours after Britain and the US called for an immediate ceasefire to control the outrage caused by the killing of 140 people in the October 8 Saudi airstrike.
“This is the time to implement a ceasefire unconditionally and then move to the negotiating table,” The Guardian quoted US Secretary of State John Kerry as saying after a brief meeting with the British foreign secretary, Boris Johnson on October 16.
A number of humanitarian truces between Yemeni warring sides occurred in the past months but failed to stop the fierce fighting across the country.
The situation in Yemen has deteriorated both economically and politically since March 2015, when war broke out between the Shiite Houthi group, supported by former President Ali Abdullash Saleh, and the government backed by a Saudi-led Arab coalition.
According to humanitarian agencies, more than 10,000 people, half of them civilians have already been killed while nearly two million have been displaced.