FIVE-DAY CEASE-FIRE ANNOUNCED FOR YEMEN

Paris, 20 Rajab 1435/9 May 2015 (MINA) – A five-day humanitarian cease-fire in Yemen will come into force on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir announced on Friday evening.

“We have made a decision that the ceasefire will begin this Tuesday, May 12, at 11.00 p.m. Yemeni local time and will last for five days, subject to renewal if it works out,” Jubeir announced, Anadolu Agency quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

“A cease-fire does not mean peace,” Kerry said in a joint press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Paris. “In all cases, the Yemeni parties have to return to the negotiating table to reach a political solution in order to end the Yemeni conflict.”

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Kerry said there were indications the Houthi rebels would accept the cease-fire but added: “I can’t speak from certainty.”

In a message seemingly aimed at Iran, which is thought to support the Shia Houthis, Kerry said: “We strongly urge the Houthis and those who back them – whom we suggest use all their influence – not to miss this major opportunity to address the needs of the Yemeni people and find a peaceful way forward in Yemen.”

The announcement came after Kerry met Gulf Cooperation Council foreign ministers for talks on Yemen and Iran.

Saudi Arabia has been leading a campaign of air strikes against Houthi forces. The UN said this week that the conflict has claimed at least 646 civilian lives. (T/P001/R04)

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Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)