Saudi Arabia plans 5-day halt to attacks on Yemen
Saudi Arabia has announced plans for a five-day ceasefire in its brutal war on neighboring Yemen with the alleged aim of facilitating humanitarian aid to people in the impoverished Arab state.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir announced the decision at a press conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Riyadh on Thursday.
The Saudi official, however, did not comment on the exact date of the start of the so-called “humanitarian pause.”
Kerry, for his part, welcomed the decision “to establish a full, five-day renewable ceasefire and humanitarian pause,” adding that the truce would mean “no bombing, no shooting” and no repositioning of armed forces on both sides.
The US official stated that the details of the plan are not yet clear and the involved sides will discuss the terms of the truce in the French capital city of Paris on Friday, stressing, however, that the ceasefire would not go into effect for several days.
Saudi Arabia started its military aggression against Yemen on March 26 – without a UN mandate – in a bid to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement and to restore power to fugitive former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who is a staunch ally of Riyadh.
The Saudi military campaign has reportedly claimed the lives of over 1,200 people so far and injured thousands of others. Hundreds of women and children are among the victims, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Al Saud regime has imposed a blockade on the delivery of relief supplies to the war-stricken people of Yemen in defiance of calls by international aid groups.
Earlier this week, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the medical charity group, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), known in English as Doctors Without Borders, expressed “extreme” concern about the Saudi airstrikes on Yemen’s lifelines and its obstruction of aid deliveries to the impoverished nation.
Saudi strikes on the airports in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, and the strategic Red Sea city of Hudeida caused severe damage, “obstructing delivery of much-needed humanitarian assistance and movement of humanitarian personnel,” read a joint statement by the two international groups.
The attacks “are having alarming consequences on the civilian population, and the humanitarian situation has now become catastrophic,” the statement added.