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Warring sides of the conflict in Yemen have agreed on a swift ceasefire agreement starting in the coming days, US Secretary of State John Kerry says.
Kerry said on Tuesday that both the Houthi Ansarullah movement and an alliance of militants loyal to Yemen’s former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who fight under the support of Saudi Arabia, had agreed to a cessation of hostilities starting on November 17.
Kerry, who was speaking to journalists in the United Arab Emirates, said the two sides had also agreed to work for the establishment of a unity government by the end of the year.
Kerry embarked on a regional tour on Monday meant for resolving the conflict in Yemen and Syria. In his first stop in Oman, he held talks with senior officials of the Sultanate in a bid to use their influence on Yemen’s Houthi fighters. Oman is the only Arab country in the Persian Gulf region that has refused to contribute to Saudi Arabia’s deadly campaign against Yemenis. Kerry then flew to Abu Dhabi for talks mostly centered on Syria.
Kerry’s bid to find a solution to the crisis in Yemen comes months after the United Nations failed to clinch an agreement between representatives of the Houthis and Hadi at the end of months-long negotiations in Kuwait.
More than 10,000 people have lost their lives since Saudis started the campaign against Yemen in March 2015. The Houthis say most of those killed have been civilians directly targeted in Saudi airstrikes. Rights campaigners and UN bodies have also confirmed the killing of civilians on a massive scale as a result of the Saudi campaign.