The Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement said on Wednesday it was halting military operations nationwide in support of U.N. efforts to end a five-year war that has killed tens of thousands and spread hunger and disease.
The move aims to facilitate talks sponsored by U.N. special envoy Martin Griffiths for a permanent ceasefire, and was decided in part to avoid a potential outbreak of the new coronavirus in Yemen, where no cases have been reported so far, coalition spokesman Col. Turki al-Malki said.
It will go into effect at midday on Thursday for two weeks and is open to extension, he said in a statement.
The announcement is the first major breakthrough since the United Nations convened the warring parties in late 2018 in Sweden where they signed a ceasefire in the port city of Hodeidah.
But it is unclear if the Houthis will follow the coalition’s decision.
Spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam said the Houthis had sent the United Nations a comprehensive vision which includes an end to the war and to “the blockade” imposed on Yemen.
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