UN envoy asks for Yemen cease-fire extension

AP News
Posted: Oct 22, 2016 6:03 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. special envoy for Yemen on Saturday urged the warring parties in the Arab country to extend a temporary cease-fire for at least another renewable 72 hours.

The current 72-hour truce expired at 11:59 p.m. local time Saturday. There was no immediate word on whether the combatants would agree to extend the cease-fire.

"The ceasefire was largely holding despite reported violations from both sides in several areas," Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said in a statement released by the U.N. spokesperson.

Ahmed noted that the cease-fire over the last days had enabled U.N. personnel to deliver food and humanitarian supplies to several areas that were previously inaccessible.

"We would like to build on this and we aim for a wider outreach in the next few days," Ahmed said.

He expressed the hope that if the warring parties agree to extend the cease-fire "it will lead to a permanent and lasting end to the conflict."

The war in Yemen began in 2014 when Shiite rebels known as Houthis based in the north seized the capital, Sanaa, and later swept across much of the poor Arabian Peninsula country.

In March 2015, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies launched a campaign of airstrikes against the rebels.