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UN: Yemen warring parties agree to April 10 ceasefire

Houthi rebels and Saudi-backed government forces have agreed to a "cessation of hostilities," according to a UN official. Thousands of civilians have been killed since Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes against Houthis.

Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the UN's special envoy to Yemen, announced on Wednesday that a cease fire between warring parties in Yemen will begin on April 10, ahead of a new round of peace talks eight days later in Kuwait.

"The talks aim to reach a comprehensive agreement, which will end the conflict and allow the resumption of inclusive political dialogue," Ahmed noted.

"The war in Yemen must be brought to an end before it does irreparable damage to the future of Yemen and the region," Ahmed said.

According to UN figures, more than 5,000 people - roughly half of them civilians - have been killed since Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes on Houthi rebels in March 2015.

Riyadh's entrance into the conflict aimed at shoring up support for the internationally-recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

UN-brokered negotiations between the Houthis and Yemen's government launched in June last year broke down after both parties failed to agree on terms to end the conflict.

In December, the UN pushed both parties to agree to a temporary ceasefire to allow the delivery of much-needed aid to the population, of which 80 percent of the 26 million inhabitants lacked basic provisions, according to UNICEF figures.

The Yemeni government has demanded that Houthis vacate cities and disarm after the rebels took control of much of the country, including the capital Sanaa, in 2014.

The rebels have called for more representation in the government after ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down in 2012.

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