The coalition led by Saudi Arabia said on Friday that it would extend a unilateral ceasefire in Yemen by one month to support efforts to curb the coronavirus pandemic, the Saudi State Press Agency (SPA) said, citing a coalition spokesman.
A two-week ceasefire announced by the coalition fighting the Iranian-based Houthi group in Yemen expired on Thursday without leading to a permanent ceasefire.
The Houthi group did not accept the coalition’s previous armistice announcement and violence continued in several provinces, raising concerns that the war will destroy and destroy Yemen’s already weakened corona virus capability.
The Houthis displaced the internationally recognized government supported by Saudi Arabia from power in the capital Sanaa in late 2014. They want to lift the air and sea blockades in the coalition-controlled regions before agreeing to an armistice, sources told Reuters.
“The coalition command reaffirmed that there is still an opportunity to concentrate all efforts to achieve a comprehensive and lasting ceasefire,” coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki was quoted by the SPA.
Secretary-General of the United States, Antonio Guterres, called for ceasefires in conflicts around the world last month so that countries can focus on the COVID-19 pandemic.
While Yemen has reported only one confirmed case of the novel corona virus, aid groups fear a catastrophic outbreak if the virus spreads to an undernourished population in a country without adequate testing facilities.