The United Nations Security Council has supported a call by Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres asking for all sides in Yemen to agree to an immediate ceasefire in order to concentrate on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yemen lacks medical infrastructure to fight the virus
The first verified cases of the virus have just reached Yemen but in the absence of testing there could already be many cases present but not confirmed. Yemen simply lacks the medical capacity to deal with any large outbreak of COVID-19.
Saudis have unilaterally launched a two-week ceasefire
The Houthi rebels have rejected joining the ceasefire complaining that the Saudis have not ended a naval blockade of a key port through which aid and supplies reach Houthi-controlled areas. In many areas there is a shortage of food as well as medical supplies and some areas have suffered from cholera outbreaks. The Houthis have continued their offensive in the north much of which they control including the capital Sanaa.
The Houthi military command
also accused the Saudi-led coalition of violating the cease fire 82 times over 24 hours with airstrikes in Marib province and artillery attacks on the port of Hodeida a key gateway for humanitarian aid.
On Friday, the Houthis’ military command accused the coalition of violating the cease-fire 82 times over the past 24 hours, with airstrikes on the central province of Marib and artillery attacks in the port city of Hodeida, the country’s main gateway for humanitarian aid.
The two sides still engaging in indirect talks
In spite of the continuing conflict,
the two opponents are engaging in UN-supported talks. The UN Special Envoy Martin Griffith has claimed that the talks have been making very good progress. Both sides realized the importance of fighting COVID-19. Griffith said that due to COVID-19 the talks were making very good progress.
Griffith optimistic about a ceasefire and direct talks
Griffith actually predicted there would in the near future be a nationwide ceasefire along with direct talks. However, the Houthis are continuing to insist that the Saudi naval blockade be lifted first. This would allow humanitarian aid into Yemen which would be a big step forward in the fight against COVID-19. Up to now though the Saudis have wanted to maintain a stranglehold on aid. No doubt the Saudis want to ensure that no arms and other supplies for the Houthi rebels arrive by sea through Hodeida.