US calls for end to fighting in Yemen amid famine fears

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said UN-led negotiations to end the civil war should begin next month. The nearly four-year-old conflict has claimed over 10,000 lives and pushed millions to the brink of starvation.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday called for a cessation of hostilities in Yemen, which has been ravaged by a nearly four-year civil war.

Pompeo said missile strikes by Iran-backed Houthi rebels against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates should stop. He also called on the Saudi-led coalition to stop airstrikes in all populated areas of Yemen.

The US helps the coalition by refueling its jets and providing training in targeting.

"The time is now for the cessation of hostilities, including missile and UAV (drone) strikes from Houthi-controlled areas into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates," Pompeo said. "Subsequently, coalition airstrikes must cease in all populated areas in Yemen," he added.

Now live
02:04 mins.
DW News | 11.10.2018

Yemen faces a severe shortage of food

Human rights groups have accused the Saudi-led coalition of intentionally bombing civilian gatherings, markets, hospitals and residential areas across the war-torn country. 

The coalition has been fighting in Yemen since 2015 to reinstate President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi's internationally recognized government after Houthi rebels forced him into exile.

More than 10,000 people have been killed in the civil war that has pushed more than 8 million people to the brink of famine. 

Read more: Yemen's war explained in 4 key points

UN-backed talks

UN special envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths said earlier this month that the world body hoped to resume consultations between the warring sides by November.

Pompeo and US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis backed Griffiths' call for talks next month.

Related Subjects

Mattis said on Tuesday the US had been watching the conflict "for long enough" and called for a ceasefire.

"We've got to move toward a peace effort here. And we can't say we're going to do it sometime in the future. We need to be doing this in the next 30 days," he said.

Mattis added that Saudi Arabia and the UAE appeared ready to embrace UN efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Last month, UN-led peace talks failed to take off after Houthi rebels refused to fly to Geneva.

ap/bw (AFP, Reuters)

Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

Yemen: Promoting peace through art

Raising awareness

Participants across 10 cities from the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe backed the recent "Open Day for Art" event organized by prominent Yemeni street artist Murad Subay. For four years in a row, Subay has been curating the art day to bring together people — young, old, artists and students — to promote peace and raise awareness of the ongoing war in Yemen.

Yemen: Promoting peace through art

A message for peace

Speaking after the event, which was held simultaneously in six places in Yemen including in Maarib city (pictured), Subay said: "The message of this event is really simple. This is about expressing what participants hope, what they believe and what they feel during this difficult time for our country. It's also about promoting peace, since war, borders and politics are dividing people."

Yemen: Promoting peace through art

"Hearts that can cease wars"

More than 100 people showed up for the campaign in the South Korean city of Gwangju. Chief organizer, Man-Hee Lees, a war veteran who fought in the Korean war, said they got involved because of the positive impact. "Peace cannot be achieved by any one person, but I could see that through the meeting between us and Murad, the hearts that can cease wars and eventually bring peace could come closer."

Yemen: Promoting peace through art

Strong show of support

There was a strong showing of participants from the southwestern city of Taiz, which hosted the event alongside other Yemeni cities, including Aden and Hudaydah. The conflict is seen as a proxy battle between regional superpowers Iran and Saudi Arabia. More than 5,000 civilians have been killed in the fighting. The UN says Yemen could become the worst humanitarian disaster in the last 50 years.

Yemen: Promoting peace through art

A deeper message

Artist Safa’a Ahmed organized the event at an orphanage in Antananarivo, the capital city of Madagascar. "To draw for peace, there are no other people to work with than kids. And to draw with kids who have lost their parents, brings a deeper message because what war does is make a lot of kids orphans."

Yemen: Promoting peace through art

Putting a smile on it

In the South Korean capital Seoul, the Yemeni Student Union collaborated with the cultural diversity organization, World Culture Open, to host the event.

Yemen: Promoting peace through art

Parisians show their support

Around 25 people from Paris took part in the campaign. Organizer Khadija Al Salami, a filmmaker, explained why she got involved. "It was very important to participate with Murad during this crucial time where Yemeni people are forced to go through such a devastating war that kills innocent people and destroys everything beautiful around them."

Yemen: Promoting peace through art

Peace campaign picks up speed

Murad’s art campaigns have been internationally recognized for raising awareness about the impact of the war on civilians, including forced disappearances, the cholera epidemic and drone strikes. Over the coming months, he says, more artists from across the globe will join his campaign, and there are plans for the same event to be held in cities in Canada, America and Djibouti.