UN: ceasefire will take hold across Yemen on April 10

A week after the ceasefire, fresh peace talks will take place

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A ceasefire will take hold across Yemen on April 10 followed a week later by fresh peace talks, the special UN envoy said Wednesday, raising hopes for a breakthrough in a war that has brought the impoverished Arab country to its knees.

Yemen has been gripped by violence since September 2014, when Iran-backed Huthi rebels stormed the capital Sanaa and forced the internationally recognized government to flee south to the second city of Aden.

“The parties to the conflict have agreed to a nationwide cessation of hostilities beginning April 10 at midnight in advance of the upcoming round of the peace talks, which will take place on April 18 in Kuwait,” Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed told a press conference in New York.

More than 6,000 people have been killed in Yemen since a Saudi-led coalition -- which includes Kuwait -- began an air war in March last year to push back an offensive by the Houthi militias, who control Sanaa.

Previous UN-sponsored negotiations between the rebels and government officials failed to reach a breakthrough, while a ceasefire went into force on December 15 but it was repeatedly violated and the Saudi-led coalition announced an end to the truce on January 2.

Only last month the UN envoy warned that the warring parties were unable to agree on terms for a new round of peace talks, but those divisions appear to have been overcome.

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