Germany, Oman Urge Ceasefire in Yemen

Germany, Oman Urge Ceasefire in YemenGermany, Oman Urge Ceasefire in Yemen

German and Omani foreign ministers called for a ceasefire in Yemen on Tuesday as a UN special envoy and a senior Iranian diplomat also arrived in the German capital of Berlin for talks to end fighting.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier criticized the recent Saudi-led airstrikes on Yemeni cities and urged for a ceasefire to ease civilian suffering, World Bulletin reported.

“The recent bombings of ports and road blockades in Yemen have made it much more difficult for international humanitarian organizations to deliver aid to civilians,” Steinmeier said at a press conference with his Omani counterpart Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah.

Bin Alawi also expressed grave concerns for the ongoing fighting in neighboring Yemen and vowed to continue diplomatic efforts.

“We hope that our Yemeni brothers, despite all their disagreements, will grasp the opportunity to talk to each other and stop the bloodshed,” he said.

A Saudi-led coalition of Arab countries began bombing Yemen in late March to restore fugitive president Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Hadi to power and repel Houthi forces who took control of the capital Sana’a in September and forced Hadi and his government into exile in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

  400 Children Killed in Conflict

The conflict in Yemen has killed nearly 400 children since the end of March, and a similar number of children have been recruited by armed groups, according to a new report by the UN children’s agency. It warns that the fighting shows “no sign of a resolution.”

“Basic services that children depend on have been decimated,” UNICEF said in its first such alert on Yemen.

The report said as of a week ago, 398 children were killed, 377 recruited to fight and 1.3 million fled their homes, adding that the death toll could be much higher.

Overall, UN human rights office said Tuesday at least 1,950 civilians have been killed in the fighting as of Friday.

The UNICEF report said about 10 million children, or half of the country’s population, need urgent humanitarian assistance.

It also said more than half a million pregnant women in Yemen’s hardest-hit areas are at higher risk for birth or pregnancy complications because they cannot get to medical facilities.