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    Hand prints on a Yemeni flag during a gathering held by Houthi loyalists against Saudi-led air strikes in Yemen's capital Sanaa March 9, 2016.

    Saudi Arabia, Houthis Agree to Ceasefire After Year-Long Massacre in Yemen

    © REUTERS / Khaled Abdullah
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    Saudi Arabia and the Houthis controlling part of Yemen have agreed to a "cessation of hostilities," the UN's special envoy to Yemen announced on Wednesday.

    UN's Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said the two parties would start implementing a ceasefire from April 10, eight days before peace negotiations take place in Kuwait.

    "The talks aim to reach a comprehensive agreement, which will end the conflict and allow the resumption of inclusive political dialogue," Ahmed said.

    "The war in Yemen must be brought to an end before it does irreparable damage to the future of Yemen and the region," he added.

    The Saudi strikes against the Islamist Houthis have killed thousands of civilians so far. The total amount of casualties recorded by the UN from the start of the conflict to date is of more than 5,000 deaths, half of them civilians.

    ​A Saudi-led coalition has been carrying out a military campaign in neighboring Yemen since March 2015, after large swaths of the country fell under the control of the Houthis — a religious-political extremist group hostile to the Saudis.

    The Gulf kingdom, together with Egypt, Morocco, Jordan and other Middle Eastern and North African countries launched a series of airstrikes on the Houthi-held areas, besides imposing an air and naval blockade of the country.

    From the very beginning, the US and the UK provided the coalition with military support

    The UN has tried to convince the belligerents to engage in negotiations since June 2015, but the efforts have failed repeatedly, until a first ceasefire was agreed on last December.  

    Now the parties will attempt to come to an arrangement again, although it will be tricky: Yemen, backed by Saudi Arabia, demands that the Houthis leave all the cities they currently occupy, and that they accept to be disarmed afterwards. 

    The Houthis, on the other hand, want to be granted more representation in the country's government. 

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    Tags:
    Middle East, civilian casualties, Saudi bombing campaign, Yemen conflict, peace, Houthis, negotiations, ceasefire, military, war, politics, diplomacy, United Nations, Yemen
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