Guterres hails Saudi initiative to end Yemen war

The picture taken on March 12, 2021 shows soldiers of the Yemeni government sitting on armored vehicles as they are launching an offensive against the Houthi rebels in Abs district, Hajjah Province, north Yemen. (Photo by Mohammed al-Wafi)

United Nations, (Asian independent)¬†UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has welcomed Saudi Arabia’s initiative to end the ongoing years-long conflict in Yemen, his spokesman said.

“We welcome today’s (Monday’s) announcement by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of its intention to undertake a number of measures to help end the conflict in Yemen, which align with the UN’s initiative,” Xinhua news agency quoted Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesman for Guterres, as saying in a statement on Monday.

“We also welcome Saudi support for UN efforts.”

UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths has been working to secure a nationwide ceasefire, opening the Sanaa airport to civilian air traffic, allowing additional fuel and commodities to enter Hodeidah Port and resuming a political process to end the conflict.

“There is no doubt that every effort must be made to end the conflict in Yemen and address the suffering of the Yemeni people and the UN looks forward to continuing its work with the parties to achieve this goal,” Haq said.

Addressing reporters earlier in the day, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan said the initiative includes a comprehensive ceasefire across Yemen under UN supervision.

The proposal also ensures the deposit of taxes and customs revenues for ships carrying oil derivatives to the port of Hodeidah into a joint account of the Central Bank of Yemen also in the city.

Yemen has been mired in civil war since late 2014 when the Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized control of several northern provinces and forced the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa.

Due to the ongoing war, the country currently faces the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, with more than 24 million people, some 80 per cent of the population, in need of humanitarian assistance, including more than 12 million children.