EU calls for extending ceasefire in Yemen

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The European Union on Monday called for extending a fragile 48-hour ceasefire in Yemen after it ended in sporadic attacks.

“It is crucial that all the parties urgently agree on its unconditional extension which would include the commitment to unhindered access for humanitarian supplies and personnel to all parts of Yemen,” a spokesperson of the European External Action Service (EEAS) said in a statement.

“We have seen in the past that the breakdown of ceasefires leads only to further killing and suffering for the civilian population, to the advantage of no-one,” the spokesperson said.

The bloc “urges all the warring parties to make the necessary compromises and commitments in the interest of alleviating the suffering of the Yemeni people,” added the spokesperson.

The 48-hour ceasefire, brokered by the United States, went on effect on Saturday between Saudi-led coalition and Yemeni dominant Shiite Houthi group controlling most part of north Yemen, including the capital Sanaa.

However, citing 500 violations from rebels, Saudi Arabia on Monday announced the end of the truce.

Major-General Ahmed Al Asiri, the spokesperson of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, told a local news channel that there is no chance to extend the ceasefire as the conditions were not fulfilled.

He said that the militias committed more than 500 violations of the truce, with 80 percent inside Yemen and the rest, or 113, reported in the Saudi border cities.

Following the announcement, fighter jets from the coalition struck a military base in Sanaa on Monday morning.

The EU insisted that “the 48-hour ceasefire … although fragile due to widespread violations by all sides, was an initial step in the right direction,” the spokesperson of EEAS said.

Similar previous truce had collapsed after both sides exchanged fire and traded accusations of breaching the truce.

The war began in March 2015, when Saudi Arabia intervened in military air campaign to restore to power internationally recognized president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after he was ousted and forced to flee into exile in Saudi capital, Riyadh.

Houthis, backed by forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, overthrew Hadi and his government over alleged corruption accusations.

The airstrikes and ground battles have since killed over 10,000 Yemenis.