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UN envoy appeals to the alliance of Saudi Arabia to extend humanitarian truce in Yemen

By Tajuddin
May 17th, 2015
Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed

Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed

Riyadh ( Reuters + DIPLOMAT.SO) – The U.N. envoy to Yemen on Sunday called on a Saudi-led military coalition and its adversaries to extend a humanitarian truce due to expire at 2000 GMT (4 p.m. ET), to allow for more aid to be delivered to Yemenis.

Mauritanian diplomat Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed made his appeal at the opening of a conference of Yemeni parties that convened in the Saudi capital Riyadh to discuss ways of ending political turmoil in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country.

Since Tuesday Saudi-led forces and Yemen’s Houthi militias have largely observed a ceasefire meant to allow for delivery of food, fuel and medical supplies to millions of Yemenis caught in the conflict since the alliance began air strikes on March 26.

Sporadic clashes have continued, however, with at least 15 killed overnight in the cities of Taiz and Dhalea, residents said.

Relief groups say that the five days were hardly enough to allow sufficient supplies to reach the country of 25 million.

Impoverished and strife-torn even before the war, Yemen is now mired in a humanitarian catastrophe, as 300,000 people have been displaced by the conflict and 12 million are short of food.

“I am hopeful (there will be an extension),” Ould Cheikh Ahmed told journalists on the sidelines of the conference, attended by President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. “All ‎my first contacts indicate that we have a chance, but I am really calling on all parties to extend this for a minimum of five days.”

Saudi Arabia has said that extending the truce depended on how the Houthis and their ally, former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, complied with the ceasefire.

The world’s top oil exporter has accused the Houthis of violating the truce but said it would exercise self-restraint to allow the delivery of badly needed supplies to Yemenis.

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