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COVID-19 WATCH

UN envoy in talks for Yemen ceasefire over coronavirus

Agence France-Presse

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The UN envoy to Yemen said Thursday he was engaged in talks with the country’s warring parties to secure a nationwide ceasefire to help counter the threat of the coronavirus.

Martin Griffiths’ office said he is discussing “concrete steps” with the warring sides despite a recent escalation in the long conflict.

Yemen has so far not recorded any case of COVID-19, but aid groups are concerned that when or if it does hit, the impact will be catastrophic for a country already facing what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Griffiths is in daily consultations aimed at bringing the warring sides together in “virtual” negotiations as soon as possible, a statement from his office said.

“I hope that these consultations can be soon completed and deliver what Yemenis expect, demand and deserve,” it quoted the envoy as saying.

The United Nations has issued a global call for armed groups to stand down during the pandemic.

The Yemen government and Huthi rebels had responded positively to the appeal, together with Saudi Arabia which leads a military coalition that supports the government.

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