UN announces truce to end Yemen war

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Aden —The United Nations has announced a new ceasefire in war-ravaged Yemen from early Thursday, after a week of escalated fighting sparked new international calls to end the conflict. While President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi’s government and its Saudi backers said they would support the truce, there has been no word from the Iran-backed rebels who control the capital Sanaa and other areas of the Arabian Peninsula country. A cessation of hostilities that first went into effect in April “will re-enter into force at 23:59 Yemen time (2059 GMT) on 19 October 2016, for an initial period of 72 hours, subject to renewal”, UN special envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said late Monday. Yemen has been rocked by war since the Shiite Huthi rebels and allied forces loyal to ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh overran Sanaa in September 2014. The conflict escalated after a Saudi-led Arab coalition began a campaign against the rebels in March 2015.
The UN says the fighting has since killed almost 6,900 people, wounded more than 35,000 and displaced at least three million, with civilians paying the heaviest price. UNICEF’s representative in Sanaa, Mohammed al-Assadi, told reporters Sunday “10 million” children in Yemen need “water, food, medicine, social protection, and general services”. The United States, Britain and the UN peace envoy on Sunday urged the warring parties to declare a ceasefire. Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdulmalek al-Mekhlafi welcomed the truce which he said will be extended if the rebels adhere to it, activate a truce observing committee, end a months-long siege of Taez and allow the city “unrestricted” humanitarian aid. —AP