Saudis postpone Yemen ceasefire until 0900 GMT on Tuesday
A ceasefire to halt nine months of Saudi aggression against its southern neighbor Yemen will take hold at noon local time (0900 GMT) on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia says.
In a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Riyadh said the truce, which was earlier scheduled to begin at midnight on Monday, will begin the following day upon a request by fugitive former Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
The statement also warned that Saudi Arabia “reserves the right to respond in case of any violation” of the truce.
According to the statement, Hadi wrote to Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, informing him of a decision by the former Yemeni government to “declare a seven-day ceasefire initiative” on the eve of UN-brokered peace talks on Yemen in Switzerland.
“The ceasefire (will last) for a period of seven days starting from the 15th to the 21st of December in conjunction with the launch of consultations, and will be renewed automatically in the event of the commitment of the other party,” the statement quoted Hadi as saying.
Two previous ceasefires, in May and July, were followed by accusations of violations by both sides.
Representatives of both the Houthi Ansarullah movement and the Saudi-backed former Yemeni president are now in Switzerland ahead of the Tuesday talks aimed at ending the conflict in Yemen.
Yemen has been under Saudi military strikes on a daily basis since late March. The military campaign is meant to undermine the Ansarullah movement and return Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh, to power.
More than 7,500 people have been killed and over 14,000 others injured since the strikes began. The Saudi war has also taken a heavy toll on the impoverished country’s facilities and infrastructure.