The United Nations Special Envoy to Yemen announced a 72-hour cease-fire to begin Wednesday night, after he received commitments from all of the country’s warring factions.
Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said the cessation of hostilities will begin at 8:59 p.m. UTC Wednesday and could be renewed after the initial three-day period.
Earlier Monday, Yemen’s Foreign Minister Abdulmalik al-Mekhlafi said, “The president agreed to a 72-hour cease-fire to be extended if the other party adheres to it, activates the DCC (De-escalation and Coordination Committee) and lifts the siege of Taiz.”
The DCC is the United Nations-backed military commission responsible for overseeing cease-fires in Yemen.
The announcement came a day after the United States, Britain and the United Nations peace envoy to Yemen urged the warring parties in the country’s two-year civil war to declare a cease-fire they said could start within days.
U.N. envoy Ahmed said he had been in contact with the lead negotiator for the rebel Houthi militia, which controls the capital, Sanaa, and with President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government, which operates from the southern city of Aden.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said earlier Monday that the kingdom, which is leading a military coalition in support of Hadi, also agreed to a new cease-fire if the Houthis agreed to one, but he said he was skeptical about peace efforts after previous cease-fire attempts had failed.
Monday’s announcements follow the firing of missiles Saturday at the American destroyer USS Mason in the Red Sea, which analysts said came from Houthi-controlled territory. The rebels have denied the attacks.
The Iran-backed Houthis, who also are supported by troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, have taken control of much of northern and western Yemen.