"Political courage and will" can end Yemen conflict: UN envoy

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Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré.

With political courage and will, the war in Yemen can be stopped, the UN Special Envoy for the country told the Security Council on Thursday.

Government forces and rebels have been battling for control of the Gulf state , where nearly 19 million citizens, or more than two-thirds of the population, require humanitarian assistance.

Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed expressed hope that the parties will commit to the resumption of a cessation of hostilities in the coming days.

Dianne Penn reports.

Mr Ahmed recalled that several recent ceasefires in Yemen have failed within hours of their announcement.

The UN envoy expressed his commitment to ensuring that the upcoming cessation of hostilities will be durable.

His office has prepared for a planning meeting which will include a workshop for representatives from both sides to develop a plan to ensure its success.

Speaking through an interpreter, he stressed that there is no military solution to the crisis.

"Those who seek a military solution will only prolong the suffering caused by the war., allow the terrorist threat to grow, and deepen the challenges of Yemen's eventual recovery following the war.  The continued military activity is all the more tragic as a viable proposal for peace is on the table and within reach of both parties.  With political courage and will, this war can be stopped."

The Security Council also heard from UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O'Brien who outlined the humanitarian toll of the conflict.

He reported that people are dying of hunger or from diseases that are easily preventable or treatable.

"If there is no immediate action, famine is now a possible scenario for 2017," he stated.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’22″

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