|Sputnik | May 28, 2017|
|© AP Photo/ Hani Mohammed|
Yemeni Deputy Information Minister Hashim Sharafaddin told Sputnik that the current negotiations between the UN Secretary-General's special representative for Yemen Ismail Sheikh uld Ahmed and the country's officials were aimed at finding a solution to the Yemeni conflict and clinching a truce before the start of Ramadan, which began on May 26.
First and foremost, it is necessary to resolve the pressing issues which are riding roughshod over ordinary Yemenis, according to Sharafaddin.
He specifically underscored the need to pay salaries to employees and open an international airport in Sanaa as soon as possible.
"The crisis with wages has dragged on. During the transfer of the Central Bank of Yemen from Sanaa to Aden, the UN assured the Yemenis of timely payments, but no concrete actions have been taken yet," Sharafaddin said.
"The UN does not extend a helping hand to [the Yemeni people] despite the blockade imposed on the country because of the war that is being waged by the enemy coalition. State employees have not received money for nine months, they simply have nothing to eat," he added.
Sharafaddin urged the UN to add to the early opening of the international airport in Sanaa, Yemen's largest city, which he said is of special importance.
He said that the airport's closure had resulted in the death of many Yemeni patients who needed urgent treatment abroad.
As for Ismail Sheikh uld Ahmed, he is currently on a regional tour; he met Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi in Saudi Arabia last week.
According to the UN Secretary General's special envoy, the purpose of his current visit is "to convince the conflicting parties to establish a truce in Yemen even ahead of the start of the Muslim holy fast in the month of Ramadan," which began on Friday, May 26.
#Yemen fighting a “triple threat” of cholera, conflict & starvation” by UNOCHA https://t.co/TnA56SPIVi #toldwithexposure via @unocha— Al Colvin (@algcolvin) 27 мая 2017 г.
Ismail Sheikh uld Ahmed stressed that "the truce could become a promising prologue for the beginning of the inter-Yemeni dialogue."
In Sanaa, Sheikh Ahmed plans to hold talks with representatives of the Houthi movement Ansar Allah as well as groups supporting former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was president of pre-unification North Yemen in 1978-1990 before becoming president of the unified country between 1990 and 2012.
Yemen is in the throes of an ongoing civil war that began in 2015.
The conflict pits government troops headed by Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi against Houthi rebels, who are backed by army units loyal to Saleh.
Since March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition of mostly Persian Gulf countries has been carrying out airstrikes in Yemen.