DUBAI: The Arab coalition’s decision to impose a two-week ceasefire on Yemen, which started midday on Thursday, was widely applauded as a critical moment to achieving lasting peace in the war-torn country.
“I am grateful to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Coalition for recognizing and acting on this critical moment for Yemen. The parties must now utilize this opportunity and cease immediately all hostilities with the utmost urgency, and make progress towards a comprehensive and sustainable peace,” Martin Griffiths, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen, said in a report by state news agency SPA.
Griffiths has been negotiating with the conflicting parties to reach an agreement on a nation-wide ceasefire so that humanitarian and economic measures could be implemented to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people.
Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan said the Arab coalition’s initiative to implement a ceasefire in Yemen was in support of Griffiths’ efforts to ‘end the conflict and focus on confronting coronavirus.’
“We hope that the Houthis would take this as an opportunity to give priority to the interests of the Yemeni people,” he said.
تأتي مبادرة تحالف دعم الشرعية في اليمن لوقف شامل لإطلاق النار في اليمن لمدة أسبوعين لدعم جهود مبعوث الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة لليمن بهدف إنهاء الصراع ، وتركيز جميع الجهود بعيدًا عن التصعيد العسكري لمكافحة تفشي جائحة كورونا COVID-19
— فيصل بن فرحان (@FaisalbinFarhan) April 9, 2020
Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said that the Arab coalition’s decision for a ceasefire in Yemen was wise and responsible, and a product of Saudi Arabia’s effort and leadership in unprecedented crisis, while John Abizaid, the US ambassador to Saudi Arabia, thanked the Kingdom’s leadership for initiating the cessation of hostilities.
Coalition ceasefire product of Saudi effort & leadership in unprecedented crisis - hope the Houthis rise to the occasion. The COVID-19 crisis eclipses everything - the international community must step up efforts & work together to protect the Yemeni people.
— د. أنور قرقاش (@AnwarGargash) April 9, 2020
Bahrain’s foreign ministry welcomed on Thursday the Arab coalition’s decision to announce a ceasefire in Yemen.
The ministry described the decision as “courageous” and said that the decision takes into account the exceptional circumstances that the world is facing due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The ministry added that the cease-fire showed the Arab coalition's concern for the safety of Yemeni lives.
Bahrain also commended the aid announced by Saudi Arabia for Yemen that aims to improve the country’s economy.
Egypt also welcomed the announcement and said that the initiative aims to create conditions in which the Yemeni government and the Houthis can discuss peace in Yemen, a permanent ceasefire in the country and the resumption of the political process that aims to achieve peace.
Later on Thursday, the UN’s special envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths praised the Arab coalition’s ceasefire announcement in a tweet and thanked Saudi Arabia “for putting forward this positive initiative.”
He added that the initiative demonstrates the Kingdom’s commitment to “de-escalating the conflict” in Yemen and “aligning its efforts with those of the UN.”
Jordan similarly supported the Arab coalition’s ceasefire declaration.
Dr. Naif Al-Hajraf, the Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, likewise welcomed the Arab coalition’s announcement, adding with the ceasefire in place focus could now be placed on efforts to address the coronavirus pandemic affecting Yemen.
Dr. Mishaal Al-Sulami, the speaker of the Arab Parliament, meanwhile said the ceasefire should help alleviate the Yemeni people’s suffering and support them in combating the coronavirus spread.
Al-Sulami called on the United Nations to immediately stop Houthis from committing further crimes and violations against Yemeni citizens, and to stop firing ballistic missiles and drones on cities and civilian installations in Saudi Arabia.
He likewise asked the UN to hold criminally responsible those who violate the ceasefire.