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Yemeni Officials Expect Cease-fire When UN Talks Begin

  • VOA News

Yemenis inspect the scene of a car bomb attack that killed a Yemeni senior official in the southern port city of Aden, Yemen, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015.

Yemenis inspect the scene of a car bomb attack that killed a Yemeni senior official in the southern port city of Aden, Yemen, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015.

Yemeni leaders expect pro-government forces and Houthi rebels to begin a seven-day cease-fire when they meet next week for U.N.-mediated peace talks in Switzerland.

President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi has sent a letter to the United Nations Security Council describing the truce and saying it could be extended if the Houthis agree.

U.N. envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed had said Monday he was "almost certain" there would be a temporary halt in fighting, as he announced the two sides had committed to the peace negotiations set to start December 15.

Officials from the General People's Congress who are loyalists of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh are also expected at the meeting.

FILE - Locals help villagers that lost their homes recover their belongs that were scattered during the bombing of Hajar Aukaish, Yemen. (A. Mojalli/VOA)

FILE - Locals help villagers that lost their homes recover their belongs that were scattered during the bombing of Hajar Aukaish, Yemen. (A. Mojalli/VOA)

The conflict has stretched on for more than a year after the Houthis seized the capital, Sana'a, before pushing south and forcing Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia as they took control of the port city of Aden.

Saudi Arabia responded by leading a coalition conducting airstrikes against the Houthis, who have been pushed out of Aden, allowing Hadi's government to return there. The rebels still control Sana'a.

The fighting in Yemen has killed at least 2,500 civilians this year, according to the World Health Organization. The WHO reported in October that the conflict had reached 21 of the country's 22 provinces, prompting a health and humanitarian crisis that has forced thousands of Yemenis to flee.

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