Credit: Andrew Harnik/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
PARIS — Saudi Arabia announced on Friday that it would halt hostilities inYemen beginning Tuesday for a five-day trial period that the foreign minister said could be renewed “if it works out.”
The minister, Adel al-Jubeir, said that the cease-fire would begin at 11 Tuesday night. Mr. Jubeir, who spoke at a news conference in Paris with Secretary of State John Kerry, said the success of the cease-fire was contingent on cooperation by the Houthis, the Yemeni rebel group that has been the target of a Saudi-led bombing campaign since late March.
The airstrikes have done little to halt the advance of the Houthis, who control Yemen’s capital and are fighting for dominance in several other cities, including Aden and Taiz. “It is our hope that the Houthis will come to their senses,” Mr. Jubeir said. “The cease-fire will be throughout Yemen, or nowhere in Yemen.”
Houthi leaders have yet to issue any official reaction to the cease-fire proposal, which was first mentioned publicly by Mr. Jubeir on Thursday. Saudi and American officials said the cease-fire is intended to allow humanitarian relief to flow into Yemen, where large parts of the country are suffering from acute shortages of food, fuel and medical supplies.
The announcement came amid growing concern for civilians in Yemen’s northern Saada Province on Friday, as Saudi officials indicated they were preparing to broaden their bombing offensive there. Saudi Arabia warned residents to leave the area, and a Saudi state news channel said the entire province would become a military target beginning Friday evening, according to the Reuters news agency.
Saudi officials said their military operations in the area were a response to cross-border attacks by the Houthis into Saudi Arabia in recent days. “We cannot allow people to lob missiles into our territory and murder our people,” Mr. Jubeir said. “It’s just not going to happen.”