You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Yemen president agrees to 72hr ceasefire

dpadpa 17/10/2016

Yemeni President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi has agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire with the Houthi rebels, which could be extended.

Yemen's president has agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire that could be extended if the Houthi rebels reciprocate, the country's foreign minister says.

Abdul-Malik al-Mekhlafi's Monday announcement on Twitter came just more than a week after a Saudi-led alliance backing President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi bombed a funeral hall in the rebel-held capital Sanaa, killing about 140 people, including prominent political figures.

The air strike, which the alliance blamed on mistaken information from Hadi loyalists, drew international condemnation and led to pressure for a ceasefire from the US and Britain, which are key backers of the Saudi-led air campaign.

There was no immediate response from the Houthi rebels, who control much of northern Yemen in alliance with former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and his loyalists in the army.

The Yemeni conflict intensified in March 2015 when the Houthis and their allies marched on Hadi's last strongholds in southern Yemen, prompting Saudi Arabia to launch an air campaign in support of the internationally recognised president.

The UN has been calling for a halt to the air strikes since September last year, saying they are responsible for the majority of civilian casualties in the conflict.

Riyadh fears the mainly Shiite Houthis will give its regional rival, Shi'ite Iran, a foothold on the Arabian peninsula.

The conflict has had a devastating effect on Yemen, already one of the Arab world's poorest countries, leaving millions reliant on aid for access to food, clean water and medical care.

The UN special envoy for Yemen has announced a plan for a ceasefire in Yemen starting on Wednesday night.

Special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed has received assurances from all Yemeni parties for a ceasefire to begin at 11.59pm Yemen time on Wednesday (7.59am Thursday AEDT), for an initial period of 72 hours, subject to renewal.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon