The UN Security Council on Friday called upon Yemen’s warring factions to end their five-year civil war due to the spread of COVID-19. “Yemen cannot face two fronts at the same time: a war and a pandemic,” said UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths. “We can do no less than stop this war and turn all our attention to this new threat.”
The Yemeni Civil War, which began in March 2015, has resulted in more than 150,000 casualties—mostly civilians—due to fighting between the Yemeni government, Houthi rebels and the Islamic State. The healthcare infrastructure has been unable to support the wounded, and in the face of the pandemic there are only 20 ventilators in the nation’s third-largest city.
On April 8, in response to the Saudi-backed Yemeni government’s unilateral declaration of a ceasefire, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called upon all factions to end the war. “Only through dialogue will the parties be able to agree on a mechanism for sustaining a nation-wide ceasefire, humanitarian and economic confidence-building measures to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people, and the resumption of the political process to reach a comprehensive settlement to end the conflict,” Guterres said.
Special Envoy Griffiths hopes to mediate peace negotiations. “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,” he said. The Houthis and ISIL have yet to respond to the UN’s appeals.
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