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UN: Yemen Officials, Houthi Rebel Envoys to Meet in Geneva

United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, during press conference following peace negotiations in Geneva, June 19, 2015.

A top United Nations official says the Yemeni government has agreed to meet at the end of the month in Geneva for talks with Houthi rebels aimed at implementing a U.N. resolution that would end months of heavy fighting.

Special U.N. envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, writing on Facebook, said agreement on the meeting was reached after talks with exiled Yemen President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is living in Saudi Arabia. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric later confirmed the talks.

The government's agreement to participate came after Iran-backed Shi'ite Houthi leaders formally committed last week to implementing a key U.N. Security Council resolution that calls on rebels to withdraw from Yemeni cities seized in the past year.

The Council approved the resolution in April, just weeks after a Saudi-led coalition of Gulf Arab states began launching airstrikes against rebels in support of the internationally recognized Hadi government.

Similar U.N.-sponsored talks collapsed in June, when the Iran-backed Houthis rejected calls for the unconditional withdrawal from all cities.

U.N. spokesman Dujarric said U.N. planners will work with government and Houthi representatives in the coming days to complete preparations for the upcoming talks.

Multiple parties have been fighting for control of Yemen since Houthi fighters seized the capital, Sana'a, last year. Analysts say the fighting and the Saudi-led airstrikes have killed about 5,000 people — many of them civilians — and created what U.N. officials describe as a humanitarian disaster.

Some information is from Reuters and AP.