UN Security Council Urges Ceasefire and New Talks in Yemen

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
January 5, 2016 Updated: January 5, 2016

UNITED NATIONS—The U.N. Security Council urged the warring parties in Yemen on Tuesday to resume a ceasefire and participate in a new round of talks in mid-January.

The council welcomed “the positive progress” in the last round of U.N.-facilitated talks from Dec. 15-20 and called on the government and Shiite rebels known as Houthis to engage in new talks without preconditions, reject violence, and refrain from provocations.

The council statement, issued after a closed briefing, expresses deep concern at Yemen’s “dire humanitarian situation which continues to worsen.”

The conflict pits the government, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, against Houthis allied with a former president and backed by Iran. Peace negotiations were launched in December and a ceasefire was declared, but both government forces and rebels ignored it.

The truce formally ended over the weekend—just as the Saudis broke diplomatic ties with Iran following attacks by Iranian protesters on its diplomatic missions.

The Saudi-Iran rupture has raised concerns about peace prospects in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country.

Yemen special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed is heading back to the region on Wednesday to get commitments from both sides for a new ceasefire and talks, the U.N. said.

Saudi Arabia’s U.N. Ambassador Abdallah al-Moualimi said late Monday that his country’s break in diplomatic ties with Iran will have no effect on its efforts to promote peace in Yemen and expressed hope the next round of talks will be productive.