7-day Yemen truce to begin Tuesday with Swiss talks

2015-12-15 10:18
Yemeni supporters of the Shiite Huthi rebel group take part in a demonstration against the air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition in the capital Sanaa. (Mohammed Huwais, AFP)

Yemeni supporters of the Shiite Huthi rebel group take part in a demonstration against the air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition in the capital Sanaa. (Mohammed Huwais, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Aden - The Saudi-led coalition said on Monday that a ceasefire in Yemen will begin the following morning instead of at midnight as earlier announced, as warring parties prepared for UN-brokered peace talks in Switzerland.

The coalition which launched an air campaign against Iran-backed rebels in March said the ceasefire will begin at 09:00 (GMT) following a request by Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, but it warned that it "reserves the right to respond in case of any violation".

Hadi has declared his government's intention to have a 7-day truce to coincide with talks opening in Switzerland and to be "renewed automatically if the other party commits to it," the statement said.

Ceasefire 'sorely needed'

The truce announcement came as the Arab coalition said a senior Saudi commander and an Emirati officer were killed during operations in Yemen.

A lull in fighting is sorely needed in the Arabian Peninsula's poorest nation, where an estimated 80% of the population requires humanitarian aid.

Jihadists, including the Islamic State group, have exploited the violence, gaining ground and carrying out deadly attacks against both sides of the conflict.

The rebel forces have yet to say if they will abide by the ceasefire agreement.

Mueen Abdulmalek, a member of the coalition-backed government's delegation at peace talks, earlier told AFP that the ceasefire will start at midnight local time.

"We hope the militias will commit to the ceasefire this time," he said, referring to the rebels.

A presidency official confirmed the truce was agreed by Hadi and Yemen's UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.

Yemen's conflict has pitted local forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition fighting in support of Hadi's government against the Shiite Huthis and renegade troops still loyal to wealthy ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Previous UN efforts have failed to narrow differences, and past ceasefires were broken.

Top officers killed

Ahead of the ceasefire, Saudi Colonel Abdullah al-Sahyan and Emirati officer Sultan al-Kitbi died while supervising operations "to liberate" the southwestern Taez province, the coalition said.

Yemen's presidency described them as "martyrs" who died in an honourable battle" in a statement that also praised the coalition's role in supporting "Yemen's legitimate authority in regaining control of state institutions".

A Yemeni military source said they were killed when rebels fired a rocket at a coastal road in Taez, which overlooks the strategic Bab al-Mandab Strait through which much of the world's maritime traffic passes.

Fierce fighting between the rebels and pro-Hadi forces continued on Monday in the southern Daleh province, witnesses said.

Coalition warplanes bombed late Monday rebel position south of Sanaa, witnesses said.

Rebels 'cannot be trusted'

Both pro-Hadi forces and insurgent groups have traded barbs over each side's willingness to stick to the truce.

And there has been no word from Saleh or his General People's Congress party, which is represented at the Switzerland talks.

The warring sides have agreed to talks despite protracted differences, including over UN Security Council Resolution 2216, which calls for rebels to withdraw from key cities and surrender their weapons.

The government and its Gulf allies say the resolution is a prerequisite for peace.

According to the UN envoy, talks will focus on four main areas, including the terms of a permanent ceasefire and the withdrawal of armed groups from areas they control.

The UN says more than 5 800 people have been killed in Yemen, about half of them civilians, and more than 27 000 wounded since March.

Read more on:    un  |  isis  |  iran  |  switzerland  |  yemen  |  saudi arabia

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
/World

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.