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Yemen Government Agrees to UN Peace Deal

Yemen’s internationally recognized government has conditionally agreed to a U.N. peace plan, the country’s minister of foreign affairs said Sunday.

In a series of social media posts, Abdulmalik al-Mekhlafi briefly outlined the plan that would end nearly two years of armed conflict between government forces and the Houthi rebels who overran the capital Sanaa in late 2014.

The agreement in part will require that Houthis hand over weapons and withdraw from Sana’a, Taiz and Hodeida in a first phase, according to the minister.

“The president’s authorized the [government] delegation to sign the agreement on condition that the other party signs it as well before August 7th,” al-Mekhlafi wrote. “I sent a letter to the Envoy with the approval of the (government) delegation to the Kuwait agreement presented by the UN to end the armed conflict.”

The Houthi political takeover pushed President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi to resign and flee to Riyadh in early 2015. Saudi Arabia then launched an air campaign and naval blockade in March 2015 that have failed to oust the Houthis.

Monitors say at least 6,500 people have been killed during the past two years, including more than 3,200 civilians.

Kuwait, which is hosting peace talks between the government and rebels, indicated Saturday that stalemated negotiations were extended to August 7 at the request of U.N. peace envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.

The U.N. has struggled since the takeover of Sana’a in September 2014 to broker a deal between warring factions.

Houthi leaders said Thursday they are forming a coalition administration. The unilateral announcement immediately drew sharp criticism from the U.N. secretary general, the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council and ambassadors from 18 other nations.

Source: Voice of America