United Nations, April 18 (IANS) The UN Security Council has asked for a nationwide ceasefire in Yemen after recent positive developments in the country.

“The members of the Security Council called on the Houthis and government of Yemen to engage constructively with (UN) Special Envoy Martin Griffiths’ proposals for a nationwide ceasefire, confidence-building measures, and the restart of the political process, with a view to reaching agreement on these as soon as possible,” said the Council on Friday.

The Council members also underlined the vital importance of humanitarian and economic measures and access to those in need to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people, which are especially important in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, reports Xinhua news agency.

The members of the Security Council endorsed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ March 25 call for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Yemen in the context of a possible COVID-19 outbreak, and voiced concern about the ongoing hostilities.

They welcomed the announcement of a unilateral cease-fire by the Saudi-led military coalition, which is fighting the Houthis in Yemen.

The members also hailed the Yemeni government’s positive response to the ceasefire call, and called on the Houthis to make similar commitments without delay.

In briefings to the Security Council, Griffiths asked the warring parties to seize the opportunity for peace while Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock warned that the UN will have to close 31 of its 41 aid programs in Yemen in a few weeks unless there are more funds.

Lowcock also rang the alarm over Yemen’s economy.

–IANS

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