United Nations announces 72-hour cease-fire in Yemen starts Thursday

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Oct. 18 (UPI) — After days of the United States, Britain and the United Nations calling for a cease-fire in Yemen, the warring parties agreed to pause the fighting for 72 hours starting Thursday.

UN Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed announced that he’d received assurances from all groups fighting in Yemen agreed to the cease-fire, which will give residents there a break and allow humanitarian aid to reach areas it is needed.

The cease-fire, Ahmed said, would last three days and be subject to renewal. Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdel-Malek al-Mekhlafi said the agreement should include promises by Huthi rebels to end their siege of Taez, however Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi has agreed to stop fighting regardless.

The news comes one day after the United States and Britain called for an immediate and unconditional cease-fire to stop the Yemeni civil war. The Sanaa government has battled the Iran-backed Houthis since the fighting started last year.

Al-Jubeir made the remarks in London with other world leaders who are trying to find a solution acceptable to both sides.

Even though recent agreements have failed in Yemen, Saudi Arabia on Monday said hours earlier it would be open to another cease-fire if the Houthis agreed to it.

The fighting in Yemen has been going on for months but the Saudis said they are willing to consider all possible peace proposals.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said he remains skeptical about the prospect for peace, but noted that Riyadh is willing to do what it can.

More than 7,000 Yemeni civilians have died and 3 million have been displaced by the civil war, now in its second year.

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