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Russia convenes UN Security Council meeting to discuss pauses in air strikes in Yemen

April 04, 2015, 2:14 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS
The meeting will be held behind closed doors. From Russia it will be attended by the Deputy permanent representative of the Russian Federation Vladimir Safronkov
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© AP Photo/Yassir Hassan

UNITED NATIONS, April 3 /TASS/. Russia is convening a UN Security Council meeting on Saturday to discuss the introduction of humanitarian pauses by the Arab coalition which is delivering air strikes at Yemen’s territory, a spokesperson for Russia’s Permanent Mission to UN, Alexei Zaitsev, told TASS on Friday.

"Russia is convening the UN Security Council for consultations to discuss the introduction of regular mandatory humanitarian pauses by the Saudi-led coalition forces that are delivering air strikes at Yemen’s territory," Zaitsev said.

He added the UN Security Council is scheduled to meet at 11:00 /New York time /18:00 Moscow time/ behind the closed doors. Vladimir Safronkov, Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, will represent Russia at the consultations.

Earlier this week, Russia faced difficulties in evacuating its citizens from Yemen’s capital Sana’a. The Saudi-led coalition turned away one of the Russia planes which had arrived to pick up the Russian citizens despite a preliminary reached agreement. The plane was allowed to land only hours later.

Russia has sent another two planes to evacuate Russian nationals from the conflict-stricken Yemen via Cairo, well-informed sources at Cairo airport told TASS on Friday.

"One plane has already landed in Egypt and is expected to fly to Yemen to evacuate Russian nationals at 07:00 (Cairo time) or 08:00 (Moscow time) on Saturday morning. The second Russian plane is to land in Cairo at 20:30 (21:30 Moscow time). It is still unknown when it is going to leave for Yemen. But it will take to the sky shortly after the first aircraft," the sources said.

More than 160 Russian nationals, predominantly women and children, were evacuated from Yemen via Cairo a day earlier on Thursday. Citizens of other countries who wished to flee the war-torn country were also taken on board. Another Russian plane with over 150 passengers was re-directed to Djibouti to pick up 32 Russians who had been evacuated from Yemen before. Seven of them were employees of the closed Russian General Consulate in Aden, Yemen’s second major city.

Since August 2014, Yemen has been hit by a severe political and security crisis. In late January, the armed groups of Ansar Allah (Houthi rebels) forced the president and the government to announce resignation.

The rebels later took control of the country’s capital and several northern provinces. They also announced the adoption of the so-called constitutional declaration.

Overnight to March 26, Saudi Arabia launched a military operation in the neighboring country and delivered air strikes at several Houthi positions.

Pro-government forces regained control of the Aden airport last week, while Yemeni President Abd Rabbah Mansur Hadi fled the country to Saudi Arabia.

On Thursday, UN Under-Secretary-General Valerie Amos said that 59 people died and about 1,700 were wounded in the first two weeks of the conflict. Tens of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes because of the military hostilities. Part of them left for Djibouti and Somalia. Amos urged all the parties in conflict to respect international humanitarian law, guarantee the security of civilians and provide an opportunity to deliver relief aid to the Yemeni population.

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