Aid groups: Planned ceasefire is "moment of truth" for Yemeni people

A truce, scheduled to go into effect in Yemen at midnight Sunday, is "a moment of truth" for the nation where thousands are displaced daily in fighting, humanitarian groups said Sunday in a joint statement.

“This is a moment of truth for Yemen’s millions of civilians. A real ceasefire could be the first step towards ending this staggering yet forgotten crisis," said Jan Egeland, head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, one of the groups issuing the statement.

A Saudi-led military coalition has been fighting Iran-allied rebels in Yemen for more than a year, causing a massive humanitarian crisis in the nation on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula.

“This last year of escalated violence has meant that each day, around 6610 people were forced to flee their homes and around 25 civilians are killed or injured,” the watchdogs said in Sunday's joint statement.

The ceasefire is due to start throughout Yemen at midnight on Sunday (2100 GMT) ahead of UN-brokered peace talks scheduled for April 18 in Kuwait.

Previous ceasefires in Yemen have not held.

Saudi Arabia and its allies, mainly Sunni Gulf countries, started an air campaign in March 2015 in Yemen against the mostly Shiite rebels, who forced internationally recognized President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi to flee the country.

Hadi, a Sunni, is now living in Saudi Arabia.

Saudis fear that the rebels will give their regional rival Iran a foothold in the Arabian Peninsula.

Last update: Sun, 10/04/2016 - 13:20
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