The United Nations said Sunday that efforts were underway to reach a truce in war-torn Yemen ahead of the Ramazan, due to start next week.
“UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg is engaging with all sides and continues his efforts towards a truce during Ramazan,” his office said in a statement.
Grundberg reiterated the UN’s call for de-escalation by all warring parties in Yemen.
A day earlier, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres denounced attacks on civilian facilities in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
“The Secretary-General strongly condemns the recent escalation of the conflict in Yemen including Friday’s aerial attacks on civilian and energy facilities in Saudi Arabia by the Houthis and the subsequent Coalition airstrikes in Sana’a, reportedly killing eight civilians, including five children and two women,” spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.
It noted that the airstrikes resulted in damage to the UN staff residential compound in Sanaa.
Also read: Overshadowed by Ukraine war, Yemen on brink as pledges fall short
“The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about reports of ongoing airstrikes in Hudaydah city and the targeting of Hudaydah’s ports, which provide a critical humanitarian lifeline for the Yemeni population. The Secretary-General calls for a swift and transparent investigation into these incidents to ensure accountability,” it said.
Noting that the conflict enters its eighth year, Guterres reiterated his calls for all parties to exercise maximum restraint, immediately deescalate, cease hostilities and abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law, including the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution.
He urged all parties to engage constructively and without preconditions, with his special envoy to reduce violence and urgently reach a negotiated settlement to end the conflict.
On Friday, Houthi rebels launched drone and missile attacks on vital energy facilities in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi-led coalition responded by launching a military operation against rebel locations in the capital Sanaa and the Red Sea port city of al-Hudaydah.
The Saudi-led coalition has been fighting Houthis since 2015, one year after the Iran-aligned rebels overran much of Yemen, including Sanaa.
The eight-year conflict has created one of the world’s worst man-made humanitarian crises, with nearly 80% of the country, or about 30 million people, in need of humanitarian assistance and protection and more than 13 million are in danger of starvation, according to UN estimates.