Ban Calls For End To Hostilities In Yemen


Ban calls for end to hostilities

Yemen unfolding humanitarian “catastrophe”

Smoke fills the sky above the Yemeni capital Sana’a after a series of airstrikes (12 May). Photo: Almigdad Mojalli/IRIN

2 July 2015 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon repeated yesterday his call for an immediate end to the fighting in Yemen to help stem the unfolding humanitarian “catastrophe” in the country.

“He calls on the parties to agree, at the very minimum, on an immediate pause in hostilities until the end of the holy month of Ramadan, so that humanitarian aid can be delivered into and across Yemen and reach people cut off from vital supplies for months,” says a statement issued by the UN Spokesperson.

The UN chief emphasized that the parties to the conflict must adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law, protecting civilians and enabling humanitarian workers to deliver life-saving assistance.

Without access to all parts of the country, children, women and men will continue to die for lack of food, clean water and healthcare.

“The Secretary-General reaffirms the commitment of the United Nations, as expressed through the efforts of his Special Envoy, Ismail Ould Sheikh Ahmed, to support Yemen in the search for a political solution — the only viable solution — to the conflict.”

In the past three months, some 3,000 Yemenis have been killed, half of them civilians, and 14,000 injured. Over a million people have had to flee their homes and 21 million need immediate help, close to 13 million people are unable to meet their food needs, 15 million people have no healthcare and outbreaks of dengue and malaria are raging unchecked.

Humanitarian partners have reached 4.4 million people with aid in the past three months, but this is a fraction of those in need, says the UN Spokesperson. The United Nations, the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement and international NGOs working together have now activated the highest level of emergency response.

“But without access to all parts of the country, children, women and men will continue to die for lack of food, clean water and healthcare,” warns the statement.

Medvedev Says Moscow Agrees To Give Gas Discount To Ukraine

EU-Russia-Ukraine Gas Talks: Moscow Ready to Make Concessions


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Russia, Ukraine and the European Union on Tuesday (30 June) wrapped up trilateral talks in Vienna after a series of meetings between the European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union, Maros Sefcovic, Naftofaz CEO, Andriy Kobolev, Russian Energy Minister, Aleksander Novak, and Ukrainian Energy Minister, Vladimir Demchyshyn had been held.

The objective of the negotiations was to try to come up with an agreement complementing the current Winter Package, which ended in March and was partially extended to June. The European Union, which acts as a mediator, has been working with Moscow and Kiev on a draft protocol after a number of meetings at expert level seeking to find a compromise between both sides. Mr. Sefcovic commented that yesterday’s talks had again demonstrated that all parties “agree on the principles needed to ensure stable and smooth gas deliveries to Ukraine and transit to the EU.” He further emphasized that “the translation of these principles into a jointly agreed final framework require further work but as the meeting has shown today, the parties are still far apart.”

In the meantime, Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, told the Russian Energy Minister and Gazprom CEO that Russia was ready for concessions in the talks saying that concessions “within reason” should be made “despite all the difficulties in the current relations with Ukraine.” Mr. Medvedev’s comment came after Gazprom had said that it would charge Ukraine $287 per 1,000 cubic meters with no discount in the third quarter. However, Russian Prime Minister also hinted that Ukraine would be given a discount of $40 per 1,000 cubic meters. He moreover reminded that Russian supplies to Europe rely on Ukraine as a transit country. Around one sixth of Europe’s gas consumption comes via Ukraine. Mr. Medvedev concluded that Russia “cherishes (its) reputation as a reliable gas supplier… This (gas discount) is a serious measure to support the Ukrainian economy”.