Help for Yemen: Kerry welcomes ‘humanitarian pause’ in conflict

A humanitarian truce would allow much needed food and medical supplies into Yemen. (© AP Images)

In a visit to Saudi Arabia, Secretary of State John Kerry called for peace in Yemen and humanitarian support for its people.

“Today, we particularly welcome a new Saudi initiative to try to bring about a peaceful resolution through the announcement of their intent to establish a full five-day, renewable cease-fire and humanitarian pause,” Kerry said at a May 7 press conference in Saudi Arabia.

Kerry, after meeting with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and other senior officials in Riyadh, expressed U.S. support for Saudi efforts to resolve the Yemen conflict.

“A cease-fire has been a longstanding goal of the international community, and we deeply respect the leadership in Saudi Arabia for stepping up, taking on this initiative, and saying to the world they’re prepared to meet the humanitarian needs of the people of Yemen,” Kerry said.

Kerry sits with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh. (State Department)

Kerry thanked Saudi Arabia for its pledge of $274 million for humanitarian assistance to Yemen.

“So bottom line: It’s vital — thanks to the Saudi initiative — that all parties agree to the cease-fire before more lives are lost,” Kerry said.

Once parties in Yemen agree to the terms of the cease-fire, it will take several days to prepare food and medicine to reach those in need.

Kerry also met with Yemen President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi in Saudi Arabia and said they discussed diplomatic solutions to the conflict.

“I emphasized the need to also support the U.N.-brokered all-party negotiations, and I urged everyone — especially the Houthis — to cooperate with the U.N.’s new Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed,” Kerry said.

“This is a time for effective diplomacy for potential solutions,” Kerry said.