Geneva, Dec 18: A deal to immediately resume humanitarian aid to the flashpoint Yemeni city of Taez has been agreed at peace talks between the warring sides in Switzerland, the UN said today.
The UN envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, welcomed the agreement as “a major step forward that will ensure immediate action to alleviate the human suffering of the Yemeni people,” according to a statement from the United Nations, which is sponsoring the talks.
“A large UN convoy, carrying essential humanitarian supplies, reached the most affected districts of the city of (Taez) and will start distributing assistance to those in need in the coming days,” the statement said. “It is expected that humanitarian assistance will also reach Hajja, Saada and other deprived Yemeni cities in the coming days.”
The deal comes on the third day of talks aimed at bringing an end to the conflict between local forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition, fighting in support of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi’s government, and Shiite Huthis and renegade troops still loyal to wealthy ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The UN said issues on the agenda over the coming days would include developing a plan for a sustainable ceasefire and the release of prisoners. More than 5,800 people have been killed in Yemen — about half of them civilians — and more than 27,000 wounded since March, according to the UN.