United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has warned that the ongoing conflict in Yemen is transforming the country into a “time bomb”, urging the international community to strive for peace in the impoverished Arab state.
The UN chief made the remarks at the opening of consultations on the situation in Yemen in the Swiss city of Geneva on Monday, adding that the unabated crisis in Yemen has provided a fertile ground for the growth of “ruthless” terrorist groups.
“In Yemen’s case, the ticking clock is not a timepiece, it is a time bomb,” he warned, adding, “The fighting is giving new strength to some of the world’s most ruthless terrorist groups.”
The ISIL Takfiri militants released a video purportedly announcing their official presence in war-torn Yemen in April. The Yemeni army along with popular committees, backed by Ansarullah fighters, are fighting terrorist al-Qaeda-linked groups and the ISIL Takfiri militants across the country.
Ban also called on the international community to act urgently to settle the crisis in Yemen, saying, “We don’t have a moment to lose.”
“The region simply cannot sustain another open wound like Syria and Libya. We must find a way to end the suffering and begin the long road to peace,” the UN chief said.
Syria has been beset by a deadly crisis fueled by terrorist groups, including the ISIL and the al-Qaeda–affiliated al-Nusra Front. The ISIL Takfiri group is also wreaking havoc in Iraq and Libya.
Ban called on all stakeholders to “make the most of the momentum of opportunity” provided in the Geneva talks to bring an end to the deadly crisis in Yemen.
The talks, brokered by UN special envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, aim to secure a ceasefire, and accelerate the delivery of humanitarian aid to the war-wracked nation.
Saudi Arabia, which started its deadly airstrikes against Yemen on March 26 without the authorization of the UN, has imposed a blockade on Yemen.
“Since March, the fighting has killed more than 2,600 people – half of them civilians. It has destroyed schools, hospitals and precious cultural heritage. Today, Yemen’s very existence hangs in the balance. While parties bicker, Yemen burns,” Ban added.
The UN chief also called for a humanitarian pause in the Saudi aggression against the country “to allow critical assistance to reach all Yemenis in need and provide a respite for Yemenis as the holy month of Ramadan begins.”