Ban condemns attacks in Yemen’s Taiz, urges parties to negotiate ‘in good faith’

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UNITED NATIONS, June 4 (APP): United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki moon Saturday condemned attacks in the Yemeni city of Taiz, which were carried out with heavy weapons, including rockets, mortars and artillery.

“Rocket fire reportedly hit a busy market in the city. Attacks
directed against civilians and populated areas, including markets, are strictly prohibited,” a statement issued by the Secretary General’s spokesperson said.

According to media reports, the rockets were fired by Houthi rebels, who are besieging the city. They struck on Friday afternoon, when Taiz residents were shopping in preparation for the holy month of Ramadan, which is due to start next week. At least 17 civilians were killed and another 30 wounded in the attack.

The UN chief underscored to all parties that targeting civilian areas was a violation of international humanitarian law and urged them to fully respect their obligations in this regard.

Mr. Ban also called for an independent investigation to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable.

“The Secretary General continues to urge all parties to the conflict to cease all military activities in accordance with the nationwide cessation of hostilities. He further calls on them to refrain from any actions that could result in further civilian casualties. It is particularly regrettable that Taiz continues to pay a heavy toll in civilian losses despite the cessation of hostilities,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, Ban called on the parties participating in the peace talks in Kuwait to negotiate “in good faith” and urgently work with his Special Envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, to bring a peaceful end to the conflict.

He also urged the importance of the immediate release of prisoners and detainees.

“The Secretary General expresses his sincere condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured,” the statement concluded.