Gargash: Riyadh Agreement must be implemented in Yemen amid coronavirus threat

'The agreement unites the ranks to confront the Houthis and paves the way for a political solution,' Dr Gargash tweeted on Saturday

A Yemeni man walks on April 2, 2020 past a closed shopping centre on a deserted street in the heart of the Yemeni port city of Aden even though Yemen has so far not recorded any case of coronavirus COVID-19. Aid groups are concerned that when or if the virus reaches the Arabian peninsula's poorest state, the impact will be catastrophic for a war-torn country already facing what the United Nations calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis. / AFP / Saleh Al-OBEIDI
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The Riyadh peace agreement must be implemented to help Yemen's government confront the coronavirus threat, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on Saturday.

The Saudi-brokered agreement signed on November 5 aimed to resolve differences between the government and the secessionist Southern Transitional Council, allies in the fight against the Houthi rebels.

"The immediate implementation of the Riyadh agreement is necessary in light of the current developments in Yemen," Dr Gargash tweeted.

"The agreement unites the ranks to confront the Houthis and paves the way for a political solution and strengthens efforts to confront the coronavirus."

The Riyadh agreement restored control of the city of Aden to the internationally recognised government after it was seized in August by forces allied to the STC. The agreement also set out a path to the formation of a new government with equal representation for the STC within 30 days.

But on January 1, the council pulled out of the committees implementing the agreement.

In March, the Saudi Foreign Ministry said the kingdom was working on development projects in all Yemeni governorates in a bid to stabilise the country and urged the parties to put the national interest above their own.

“This comes as an extension of support that the kingdom has provided and as a continuation of care for the brotherly Yemeni people,” it said in a statement that called for resolving differences between the parties.

Yemen has not yet reported cases of the coronavirus sweeping the world since December, 2019, but the conflict poses a significant risk of the disease spreading out of control in the country.

The government on Wednesday released hundreds of prisoners charged with lesser crimes amid fears that the virus could spread through the country’s jails.

The rapid spread of the virus throughout the region prompted calls from the United Nations for both sides in Yemen's civil war to observe a ceasefire so that the country could focus on countering the health threat.

Yemen's healthcare system has been shattered by the civil war that followed the Houthi seizure of the capital, Sanaa, in late 2014. The Iran-backed rebels still control large areas of northern Yemen and recently launched a series of missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia despite UN calls for a de-escalation.