A nationwide ceasefire in response to the global coronavirus outbreak went into effect in Yemen on Thursday, raising hope for an end to the five-year-old war.
An Arab-led coalition fighting against Yemen’s Houthi movement said it would halt military operations for two weeks in support of United Nations efforts to end the conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people.
On the other hand, the Houthi movement, which controls the capital Sanaa and most big urban centres, has yet to announce whether it will follow suit.
The coalition said its move is intended to facilitate talks sponsored by U.N. envoy Martin Griffiths for a permanent truce, motivated in part to avoid a potential outbreak of the new coronavirus, though no cases have been reported in Yemen.
In a statement, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the Yemeni government and the Houthis to engage “in good faith and without preconditions” in the talks to agree a nationwide truce mechanism, humanitarian and economic confidence-building steps and a resumption of negotiations on a political settlement.