The warring parties in Yemen have agreed to observe a three-day ceasefire beginning on Wednesday night according to UN Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed and Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdel Malek al-Mekhlafi said the period could be “extended if the other party adheres to it, activates the DCC (De-escalation and Coordination Committee) and lifts the siege on Taiz.”
The announcement was made after international calls for a cessation of hostilities with US Secretary of State, John Kerry, stating that “this is the time to implement a ceasefire unconditionally and then move to the negotiating table.”
The last negotiations between the Hadi government and the Houthi rebels lasted for more than two months without any breakthrough. “We cannot emphasize enough today the urgency of ending the violence in Yemen” said Kerry as he called to implement the ceasefire “as rapidly as possible.”
A statement from the UN pointed out that “free and unhindered access for humanitarian supplies and personnel to all parts of Yemen” will also be an obligation that should be upheld by the warring parties.
The war in Yemen has been ongoing for more than 18months and despite the Saudi-led coalition announcing the end of combat operations several months ago, it continues to carry out airstrikes as rebels continue to repulse ground offensives.
Special Envoy Ismail said the ceasefire will “spare the Yemeni people further bloodshed and will allow for the expanded delivery of humanitarian assistance.”
Previous ceasefires in the country have been marred with violations with both sides accusing each other for being responsible. More than 10,000 people have been killed and tens of thousands are in dire need of aid in one of the most impoverished countries in the Gulf.