Yemeni officials say government, rebels, agree on ceasefire
Sanaa, Mar 20: Yemeni Shiite rebels and the internationally recognized government have agreed to begin a ceasefire for a week or two before their next round of negotiations which are expected in April, Yemeni officials said today.
The officials participated in Sunday's talks in Sanaa, the capital, between the rebels and the UN envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.
All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters. According to the officials, the Shiite rebels known as Houthis have agreed to implement a UN security council resolution which requires them to hand over their weapons and withdraw from territory they occupy, including Sanaa.
Officials with the internationally recognized government also said Sunday they agree to the ceasefire as a first step for the warring sides to show their good intentions.
Previous attempts to implement a ceasefire in Yemen have failed to take hold on the ground, with each side accusing the other of immediately violating the terms.
A first round of talks was held in Switzerland in December, but they never resumed. The Arab world's poorest country has been plagued by fighting between its internationally recognized government, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, and the rebels, who are allied with former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.