Kerry hopes for new Yemen truce in 2 weeks

RIYADH: US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed the hope in Saudi Arabia on Sunday that a new ceasefire in the Yemen conflict could be agreed within two weeks. On his last visit to the kingdom as secretary, Kerry said the US will work with Britain, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to achieve a new pause in the fighting, which would be the eighth ceasefire attempt since hostilities escalated early last year. The group of four nations, formed previously to focus on Yemen, “hopes that within two weeks it might be possible to achieve” a pause in fighting, Kerry told reporters.

“The failure to achieve a lasting cessation of hostilities is disturbing to all of us,” Kerry said. Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdallah, Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, is representing Oman at the meeting. Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia has led an Arab coalition conducting air strikes against rebels and providing other assistance to local forces in support of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi. The group of four nations — which also met Alawi as well as UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed — reaffirmed UN proposals for a peace “roadmap” made in October.

Sources have said the plan calls for agreement on naming a new vice president after the rebels withdraw from Sanaa and other cities, and hand over heavy weapons to a third party. Hadi would then transfer power to the vice president who would appoint a new premier to form a government in which the north and south of Yemen would have equal representation. — AFP