7 May 2015

Yemen: Saudi Arabia proposes five-day ceasefire

Saudi Arabia propose a five-day humanitarian truce in Yemen after weeks of airstrikes – but say the ceasefire depends on the Houthi militia also agreeing to lay down arms.

Foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir made the announcement on Friday alongside US Secretary of State John Kerry. Mr Kerry said that neither Saudi Arabia nor the United States was talking about sending ground troops into Yemen.

“The pause will affect all of Yemen for a period of five days. The actual date will be announced shortly as well as the requirements. This is all based on the Houthis complying with the ceasefire,” Jubeir said.

Air strikes

Hundreds of civilians have been killed in air raids and fighting since a Saudi-led coalition began strikes against the Houthis on 26 March, aimed at pushing the Iranian-allied militia back from captured areas and restoring President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government.

The fighting and a coalition arms embargo have also caused hunger and shortages of food and fuel, worsening Yemen’s humanitarian crisis and prompting alarm around the world.

The Houthis say their campaign was aimed at fighting Al-Qaeda militants and to combat corruption. So far, the effects of the Saudi attacks have looked limited.

Houthi militia

On Wednesday, Houthi militia fought their way into a district of Aden, where Hadi briefly based his government when he was forced out of Sanaa. Houthi attacks on Aden have since forced him to flee to Saudi Arabia.

Shortly after his arrival in Riyadh, Mr Kerry met with Saudi Arabia’s new heir to the throne, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef. Mr Kerry also met with King Salman, the new King of Saudi Arabia.