UN Security Council urges cease-fire and new talks in Yemen

United Nations: The UN Security Council is urging the warring parties in Yemen to resume a cease-fire and participate in a new round of talks in mid-January.

The council welcomed “the positive progress” in the last round of UN-facilitated talks from December 15-20 and called on the government and Shiite rebels known as Houthis to engage in new talks without preconditions, reject violence, and refrain from provocations.

The council statement, issued after a closed briefing today, expresses deep concern at Yemen’s “dire humanitarian situation which continues to worsen.”

The conflict pits the government, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, against Houthis allied with a former president and backed by Iran. Saudi Arabia’s rupture in diplomatic relations with Iran on Sunday has raised concerns about peace prospects in the Arab world’s poorest country.