US, Britain and UN demand Yemen ceasefire within days

(From left) US Secretary of State John Kerry, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed make a joint statement on Yemen at Lancaster House in London on Oct 16, 2016.
(From left) US Secretary of State John Kerry, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed make a joint statement on Yemen at Lancaster House in London on Oct 16, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - The United States, Britain and the UN peace envoy to Yemen on Sunday (Oct 16) urged the warring parties in the country's civil war to declare a ceasefire within days.

"This is the time to implement a ceasefire unconditionally and then move to the negotiating table," US Secretary of State John Kerry said after high-level diplomatic talks in London.

Kerry was speaking after meeting UN peace envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed and his opposite numbers from Britain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The top US diplomat said he, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Cheikh Ahmed are calling for the ceasefire to begin "as rapidly as possible, meaning Monday, Tuesday".

The senior envoys, he said, had been in touch with Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and with the Huthi rebels who drove him from the country to push for peace talks.

"We cannot emphasise enough today the urgency of ending the violence in Yemen," Kerry said.