The United Nations classifies the situation in Yemen as the greatest humanitarian catastrophe in the world. The civil war that has raged for more than six years has severely damaged the country. Despite several peace efforts, the conflicting parties continue to fight for power. However, Saudi Arabia has now put forward a new proposal to end the war.
It provides for a nationwide ceasefire under the supervision of the United Nations, as Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud announced on Monday. The ceasefire could come into effect as soon as the Yemeni Houthi rebels agreed to it. The airport in the capital Sanaa should also be reopened. The aim of the initiative is a comprehensive political solution to the conflict.
A civil war has been raging in the country in the south of the Arabian Peninsula for more than six years. The Houthis are fighting the internationally recognized government of the desperately poor country. The conflict is above all a proxy war: the military alliance led by Saudi Arabia is fighting alongside the Yemeni government against the Shiite Houthi rebels supported by Iran.
The rebels control large parts of Yemen, including the capital Sanaa. Saudi Arabia supports the government supporters among other things with air strikes. The Sunni kingdom sees the Houthis as a close ally of its Shiite archenemy Iran. The rebels also repeatedly attack targets in Saudi Arabia with missiles.
Millions of children are threatened with starvation
All international diplomatic efforts have so far failed to end the longstanding conflict. Several rounds of talks were hardly successful. Agreements from an agreement reached in Stockholm at the end of 2018 were only partially implemented.
According to UN figures, a total of 3.6 million people have been displaced by bombing and fighting since 2015. Recently, the already dramatic situation has worsened due to new fights and the corona crisis. According to the UN Emergency Relief Office, 2.3 million children under five are at risk of acute malnutrition, more than ever before. 16 of the 29 million inhabitants need food aid.