Yemen ceasefire gets extended with conditions

The U.N. said earlier that peace talks between warring sides in Yemen have ended amid severe new fighting in the country

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A troubled ceasefire in Yemen has been extended by one week on condition that Houthi forces commit to the truce, the country’s foreign minister said on Sunday.

Abdel Malek al-Mekhlafi made the announcement to reporters in Switzerland where peace talks ended earlier on Sunday.

Yemen’s warring sides have agreed to meet again on Jan. 14 to continue talks but the location is yet to be decided.

Mekhlafi said the extension of the ceasefire was subject to Houthi forces’ commitment to the truce.

The ceasefire coincided with the start of the United Nations-backed talks on Dec. 15.

Earlier, the United Nations said peace talks between warring sides in Yemen have ended amid severe new fighting in the country.

The U.N. office in Geneva says the special envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, will hold a press conference later Sunday. The peace talks between pro-government fighters and militias began Tuesday in the Swiss village of Macolin.

Fierce fighting and airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition pounded northern Yemen on Saturday, as the two main parties in the country’s conflict continued to violate a cease-fire.

Clashes in Hajjah Province near the Saudi border between militia-allied units and pro-government Yemeni forces have killed more than 75 people over the past three days, according to Yemeni security officials and witnesses said.

Yemen’s fighting pits the internationally recognized government backed by a Saudi-led, U.S.-supported coalition against the rebels, known as Houthis, who are allied with a former president and backed by Iran. Local affiliates of al-Qaeda and the ISIS group have exploited the chaos to grab land and exercise influence.

According to U.N. figures, the war in Yemen has killed at least 5,884 people since March, when fighting escalated after the Saudi-led coalition began launching airstrikes targeting the militias.

(With AP, Reuters)