Week-long truce takes effect in Yemen

Representatives of the Yemeni government and Houthi forces to hold talks at an undisclosed location in Switzerland.

Updated - November 28, 2021 09:54 am IST

Published - December 15, 2015 04:31 pm IST - GENEVA:

In this photo provided by the Yemeni Presidency, Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi (centre) meets with officials and local leaders in the southern port city of Aden on Sunday. Yemen's internationally recognized government and Shiite rebels who have controlled the capital Sana'a agreed on Saturday to start a weeklong ceasefire which took effect from Tuesday.

In this photo provided by the Yemeni Presidency, Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi (centre) meets with officials and local leaders in the southern port city of Aden on Sunday. Yemen's internationally recognized government and Shiite rebels who have controlled the capital Sana'a agreed on Saturday to start a weeklong ceasefire which took effect from Tuesday.

A ceasefire took effect in Yemen on Tuesday as the warring parties were set to begin United Nations-sponsored peace talks in Switzerland aimed at reaching a lasting peace, a U.N. spokesman said.

“U.N. Secretary-General Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed announces today [Tuesday] the start of cessation of hostilities in Yemen which he considers an initial first step towards building a lasting peace in the country,” U.N. spokesman Ahmad Fawzi told a news briefing in Geneva.

Representatives of the Yemeni government and Houthi forces have arrived at an undisclosed location in Switzerland with delegations of 18 each.

Coalition air strikes kill 15, ahead of truce

Meanwhile, air strikes by an Arab coalition targeting Yemen’s Houthis killed at least 15 civilians late on Monday, residents said, as fighting intensified ahead of the ceasefire.

Residents said war planes launched two raids on the village of Bani al-Haddad, in the northern Hajjah province on the border with Saudi Arabia, killing 13 people and wounding 20 others.

Two more residents died while medics were trying to evacuate them, they said.

A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition could not be reached for immediate comment but the alliance says it does not target civilians.

Red Sea island captured

In south-western Yemen, coalition forces captured the Red Sea island of Zuqur, part of the Hanish Archipelago that controls the main sea route near the strait of Bab al-Mandab, Saudi state television reported quoting the coalition spokesman.

The island contains the highest mountain in the area, which gives the coalition control over the waterway.

Residents also reported air strikes in Dhamar and Hodeida provinces and ground clashes in the city of Taiz, a focal point of fighting between the Houthis and Hadi supporters, as well as in Marib, east of the capital Sana’a.

Arab forces to respond to breach of ceasefire

In a statement carried by Saudi state news agency SPA, the coalition said Arab forces retained the right to respond to any breach of the ceasefire.

The coalition has been waging mainly air strikes on the Houthis since March, after the Houthis seized control of much of the country in a series of moves that started in September 2014.

The Houthis say their actions are aimed at state corruption and against the militant Islamist al-Qaeda, while the Saudi-led coalition sees the Houthis as furthering rival Iran’s efforts to expand its influence into the Arabian Peninsula.

Two senior commanders from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were among dozens of fighters killed in a rocket strike in south-western Yemen, according to local media and Yemeni sources on Monday.

A previous round of peace talks in Geneva in June failed to produce a breakthrough, with each side blaming the other for the failure of the talks.

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