Saudi Arabia on Monday proposed a cease-fire plan to the Houthi rebel group in Yemen.
'We hope the Houthis will respond [positively] to the initiative, avoid bloodshed of Yemenis and provide an opportunity for a political solution,' Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud said in a televised statement.
The minister said the initiative has taken effect from the Saudi side.
'In continuation of the Kingdom's supportive role in Yemen [...], it announces an initiative that includes a comprehensive ceasefire under the supervision of the United Nations, the opening of Sanaa International Airport for a number of flights, and the start of consultations between the various parties under the auspices of the United Nations,' the minister added.
Earlier Monday, sources in New York told Anadolu Agency that Saudi Arabia apprised the UN about its intention to declare a unilateral cease-fire in Yemen within hours.
The sources, who preferred anonymity, said the Saudi move came in support of the efforts by the US Special Envoy for Yemen Timothy Lenderking and UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths to reach a settlement and to end the conflict.
On April 9, 2020, the Saudi-led Coalition declared a cease-fire in Yemen for two weeks to support efforts to curb the coronavirus pandemic and later extended it several times.
Earlier this month, the Saudi-led coalition launched an aerial campaign against rebel-held positions, in response to increasing Houthi rocket and drone attacks on Saudi territories.
On March 18, the UN Security Council members called on all Yemeni warring parties to come together and work with the UN special envoy to negotiate without preconditions.
Yemen has been wracked by violence and instability since 2014, when Iran-aligned Houthi rebels captured much of the country, including Sanaa.
A Saudi-led coalition aimed at reinstating the Yemeni government has worsened the situation, causing one of the world’s worst man-made humanitarian crises with nearly 80% or about 30 million of its people needing humanitarian assistance and protection and more than 13 million in danger of starving to death.
By Mohammad Shadi in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Additional reporting by Ahmed Asmar and Mahmoud Barakat