New York, Sept. 18, (dpa/GNA) – Eight countries on Thursday called for a political solution to end the conflict in Yemen, after an online high-level ministerial meeting to discuss the war-torn country.
In a joint communique, United Nations veto powers Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, as well as Germany, Kuwait and Sweden, « stressed the urgent need for de-escalation across Yemen and a nationwide ceasefire. »
The group also expressed regret that the Yemeni parties did not seize the opportunity to achieve a ceasefire after UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ March call for an immediate cessation of hostilities.
In a briefing to the closed-door meeting, Guterres said five years of war had devastated the lives of tens of millions of Yemenis.
« With the coronavirus pandemic, the urgency of reaching a negotiated political settlement to end the conflict has only grown, » the UN chief said, according to circulated remarks.
Guterres said while there were more than 2,000 confirmed cases in Yemen, experts estimated that up to 1 million people were infected, with a fatality rate of up to 30 per cent, as many health facilities had been destroyed in the war.
The impoverished country has been in the grip of a power struggle between the government and the Houthi rebels since late 2014.
Saudi Arabia and its fellow Sunni allies started an air campaign against the Shiite Houthis in March 2015.