Yemen ceasefire to begin Tuesday morning

Ceasefire in Yemen set to begin on eve of U.N.-brokered peace talks in Switzerland

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A ceasefire in Yemen, meant to go into effect at midnight on Monday, was pushed to 9 am on Tuesday, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.

"The command of the coalition forces announces a ceasefire as of 12 P.M. Sanaa time...while retaining the right to respond to any breach of the cease-fire," the alliance said in a statement on Saudi state news agency SPA.

“We hope the militias [Iran-backed militia forces in Yemen] will commit to the ceasefire this time,” government delegate to the talks Mueen Abdulmalek told AFP earlier on Monday.

A presidency official confirmed the truce would begin at midnight local time based on an agreement between President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and Yemen’s U.N. envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.

However, it remains unclear if Houthi militias and allied forces - renegade troops still loyal to former strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh - would commit to the halt in fighting.

On Saturday, a spokesman for the Houthi’s Ansarullah party, Mohammed Abdulsalam, said fighters would only lay down their arms if “aggression” by a pro-Hadi forces stopped.

There was also no word from a Saudi-led coalition, which has conducted air strikes against the militias since March, despite reassurement last week by the U.N. envoy that Riyadh had promised to pause its aerial assault during talks.

A lull in fighting is sorely needed in Yemen, the Arabian Peninsula’s poorest nation, where an estimated 80 percent of the population of 26 million is in need of aid.

The United Nations says more than 5,800 people have been killed in Yemen, about half of them civilians, and more than 27,000 wounded since March.

[With AFP and Reuters]