UN envoy in talks for Yemen ceasefire over coronavirus Apr 03, 2020 0 505 12345 AFPDubaiThe UN envoy to Yemen said on Thursday he was engaged in talks with the country’s warring parties to secure a nationwide ceasefire to help counter the threat of the coronavirus.Martin Griffiths’ office said he is discussing “concrete steps” with the warring sides despite a recent escalation in the long conflict.Yemen has so far not recorded any case of COVID-19, but aid groups are concerned that when or if it does hit, the impact will be catastrophic for a country already facing what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.Griffiths is in daily consultations aimed at bringing the warring sides together in “virtual” negotiations as soon as possible, a statement from his office said.“I hope that these consultations can be soon completed and deliver what Yemenis expect, demand and deserve,” it quoted the envoy as saying.The United Nations has issued a global call for armed groups to stand down during the pandemic.The Yemen government and Huthi rebels had responded positively to the appeal, together with Saudi Arabia which leads a military coalition that supports the government.However, last week Saudi air defences intercepted ballistic missiles fired by the Iran-aligned Huthis over Riyadh and a city on the Yemen border. Two civilians were wounded in the curfew-locked Saudi capital.Yemen’s government condemned the attack, which it said undermined efforts to scale down the five-year conflict.Griffiths said he was in regular contact with both parties “on reaching agreements on a nationwide ceasefire, humanitarian and economic measures to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people”.“This process further aims to foster joint efforts to counter the threat of COVID-19,” the statement said.Saudi Arabia is also scrambling to limit the spread of the disease at home and its health ministry has reported 1,720 coronavirus infections and 16 deaths from the illness so far.Tens of thousands of Yemenis has been killed in more than five years of fighting that has devastated the impoverished Arab nation. Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES Iran, US heat up war of words despite COVID-19 pandemic Apr 03, 2020 0 2870 Nigeria virus lockdown pushes Lagos poor to the brink Apr 03, 2020 0 622 Saudi imposes 24-hour virus curfew in holy cities Apr 03, 2020 0 650 Iran parliament speaker tests positive for COVID-19 as deaths reach 3,160 Tehran Iran’s parliament speaker tested positive for COVID-19, state television reported Thursday, becoming the latest official to contract the disease in the hard hit country. Ali Larijani “was tested for .. Amnesty says Guinea security forces complicit in poll violence AFP Dakar Amnesty International on Thursday said security forces in Guinea were complicit in election-day violence which killed at least 12 people in the West African nation. Guinea voted on March 22 on whether to adopt a .. Over 250 rescued in Niger desert, put in quarantine Niamey More than 250 Europe-bound migrants were rescued in Niger’s arid north and placed in coronavirus quarantine after being abandoned by traffickers, the International Organization for Migration said Thursday. .. Israel health minister contracts virus, Netanyahu re-enters quarantine Jerusalem Israeli Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, a leading member of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, has tested positive for COVID-19, forcing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to re-enter precautionary .. Sahel humanitarian crisis ‘spiralling’ amid virus: WFP Dakar More than five million people in Africa’s conflict-ravaged Sahel region are facing hunger, the World Food Programme said Thursday, just as the novel coronavirus is spreading into affected countries. In a ..