UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Monday called for an immediate humanitarian pause in Yemen to mark Ramazan as high stakes talks got under way in Geneva to try and end the bloody conflict.
International powers are keen for a speedy resolution, fearing the growing power of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemeni branch of the militant network which has taken advantage of the chaos to seize territory.
"We do not have a moment to lose," Ban said, adding that the fighting was "giving strength to some of the world's most ruthless terrorist groups."
"I hope this week starts the beginning of the end of the fighting," Ban said.
"Ramazan begins in two days," he said, stressing that the holy Muslim month should be a period for harmony, peace and reconciliation.
"I have emphasised the importance of another humanitarian pause for at least two weeks," Ban said.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 16th, 2015.