Yemen Ceasefire Pushed Back

Yemen Ceasefire Pushed BackYemen Ceasefire Pushed Back

A ceasefire planned for midnight has been postponed in Yemen, as violence went unabated in the country’s south. A seven-day truce was instead set to begin with peace talks in Switzerland on Tuesday morning.

The Saudi-led coalition, which has backed fugitive president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in the Yemen conflict, announced late on Monday that a long-awaited ceasefire will begin Tuesday morning instead of at midnight as originally planned.

The change in plans, reportedly requested by Hadi himself, now coincides with the start of UN-brokered peace talks in Geneva, AFP reported.

According to the coalition, Hadi said his forces and their supporters would lay down their arms at 9 a.m. local time on Tuesday, and begin a seven-day truce that will be “renewed automatically if the other party commits to it.”

A break in the fighting will be a welcome respite for the estimated 80% of Yemenis who require humanitarian aid. The poorest nation in the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen has been in a near constant state of violence since Houthis, who have long complained of marginalization, overtook the capital Sana’a in September 2014.

International terror organizations like Al-Qaeda and Islamic State have taken advantage of the chaos to expand their influence in Yemen. They have launched attacks on both sides of the conflict.

Previous ceasefire attempts in Yemen have not held and this time both sides have traded allegations that the other does not intend to stick to any peace deal. Both Hadi and the Houthis, many of whom remain loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, will be represented at the talks.

According to witnesses, even with the prospect of a temporary ceasefire, violence continued between coalition forces and the Houthis in the southern Daleh province on Monday.