US, UK and UN demand Yemen ceasefire within days

US, UK and UN demand Yemen ceasefire within days
World powers including the US are demanding a ceasefire in Yemen over the next few days, following discussions with both sides in the country's civil war.
2 min read
16 October, 2016
The ongoing war in Yemen has caused destruction and the death of thousands [Getty]

The United States, UK and the UN peace envoy to Yemen on Sunday urged the warring parties in the country's civil war to declare a ceasefire within days.

"This is the time to implement a ceasefire unconditionally and then move to the negotiating table," US Secretary of State John Kerry said after high-level diplomatic talks in London.

Kerry was speaking after meeting UN peace envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed and his opposite numbers from the UK, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The top US diplomat said he, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Cheikh Ahmed are calling for the ceasefire to begin "as rapidly as possible, meaning Monday, Tuesday".

The senior envoys, he said, had been in touch with Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansoor Hadi and with the Houthi rebels who drove him from the country to push for peace talks.

"We cannot emphasise enough today the urgency of ending the violence in Yemen," Kerry said.

Yemen has seen Washington involvement in recent days, with US missiles hitting Yemeni radars following Houthi attacks on shipping.

The US says it is simply enforcing international law by policing the waters and protecting shipping, and it does not want to escalate its involvement in the war.

After a funeral hall was bombed by suspected Saudi war planes leaving at least 140 dead, the US has grown more critical of the anti-Houthi coalition's air campaign.