The UN Security Council on Saturday kicked off an emergency meeting behind closed doors on the current situation in Yemen, which has been suffering escalated violence over the past weeks. Yemen
The closed meeting started at around 11: 20 a.m. EDT (15:20 GMT) at the request of the Russian mission to the United Nations in order to discuss an issue of humanitarian pause during coalition air strikes in Yemen, diplomats said.
The unscheduled meeting was the second by the council on Yemen over the past two weeks. On March 22, the 15-nation UN body called an emergency meeting to discuss the volatile situation in Yemen.
In response to the current situation on the ground, the United Nations has relocated its peace envoy for Yemen, Jamal Benomar, to Jordan and withdrew its last 13 foreign employees from the country, deputy UN spokesman Farhan Haq said here Tuesday.
The Yemeni crisis has become the focus of the ongoing Arab summit led by Egypt and attended by 20 Arab monarchs and presidents, including fleeing Yemeni President Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi, amid an ongoing Saudi-led military airstrikes against targets of Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Yemen has been mired in political gridlock since 2011 when mass protests forced former President Ali Abdullash Saleh to step down.
The three-year reconciliation talks failed to resolve the crisis but create huge power vacuum that could benefit the powerful al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and other extremist groups.
Conflict in Yemen killed more than 500 people over the past two weeks, Valerie Amos, the UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said in a statement issued by her office on Thursday.
Extremely concerned for the safety of civilians caught in the midst of “fierce fighting” in Yemen, Amos, who is also the UN emergency relief coordinator, called on all parties involved to meet their obligations under international law and do their utmost to protect the ordinary women, children and men who are suffering the consequences of the conflict.
Amos said reports from humanitarian partners in different parts of the country indicate that some 519 people have been killed and nearly 1,700 injured in the past two weeks, more than 90 of them being children.
Further, Amos said tens of thousands of people have fled their homes, some by crossing the sea to Djibouti and Somalia. Electricity, water and essential medicines are in short supply.
“Those engaged in fighting must ensure that hospitals, schools, camps for refugees and those internally displaced and civilian infrastructure, especially in populated areas, are not targeted or used for military purposes,” she said.
Despite the grave dangers, she continued, United Nations agencies and humanitarian partners are coordinating with the Yemen Red Crescent and local authorities to deliver emergency health kits, generators so that people can get clean water, food and blankets. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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