NEW YORK: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on the parties to the conflict in Yemen to cease all air and ground assaults, expressing deep concern about the “sharp escalation” of armed clashes and airstrikes in the capital, Sana’a, and other parts of the war-torn country over the past several days.
A statement issued by Guterres’ Spokesman Stephane Dujarric Sunday evening said the fighting has already resulted in dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries, including civilians, and is also restricting the movement of people and life-saving services within Sana’a city.
“Ambulances and medical teams cannot access the injured and people cannot go outside to buy food and other necessities. Aid workers are unable to travel and implement critical life-saving programmes at a time when millions of Yemenis rely on assistance to survive,” the statement said.
This latest outbreak of violence could not come at a worse time for the Yemeni people, who are already caught up in the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. The conflict and blockade that was put in place on Nov. 6 “ and is still not fully lifted “ have caused significant shortages of critical supplies, especially food and fuel, and resulted in price hikes, curtailing access to food, safe water and healthcare.
“The Secretary-General calls for the urgent resumption of all commercial imports, without which millions of children, women and men risk mass hunger, disease and death,” the statement underscored.
The UN chief went on to call on all parties to the conflict to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law, with the statement emphasizing: “It is paramount that civilians are protected, that the wounded are afforded safe access to medical care, and that all sides facilitate life-saving humanitarian access.”
More than two years of relentless conflict between the Government and Houthi and allied rebels in Yemen, already the Arab world’s poorest country, has devastated the lives of millions of people. An alarming 20.7 million people in Yemen need some kind of humanitarian or protection support, with some 9.8 million in acute need of assistance. This man-made disaster has been brutal on civilians.
“The Secretary-General reiterates that there is no military solution to the Yemen conflict. He urges all parties to the conflict to engage meaningfully with the United Nations to revitalize inclusive negotiations on a political settlement,” the statement added. —AFP