UNITED NATIONS, March 25 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday called for a cease-fire in Yemen amid the COVID-19 pandemic, said his spokesman.
Guterres called on those fighting in Yemen to immediately cease hostilities, focus on reaching a negotiated political settlement and do everything possible to counter a potential outbreak of COVID-19, said Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman, in a statement.
The call followed Guterres' appeal on Monday for an immediate global cease-fire in face of COVID-19.
More than five years of conflict have devastated the lives of tens of millions of Yemenis. The current fighting in Al Jawf and Ma'rib threatens to further deepen human suffering, said the statement.
The secretary-general calls on the parties to work with his special envoy to achieve a nationwide de-escalation; progress on economic and humanitarian measures that will alleviate suffering and build confidence; and the resumption of an inclusive, Yemeni-led political process, it said.
Guterres emphasized that a political solution is the only way to a comprehensive and sustainable resolution of the conflict in Yemen.
Yemen has been in a civil war since 2015, pitting Houthi rebels against government forces. Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition force defending the internationally recognized Yemeni government against Houthi rebels allegedly supported by Iran.