SANAA, (Agencies) – The leader of Yemen’s Shi’ite rebels announced on Saturday a ceasefire with government forces, and said he accepted the government’s terms for a ceasefire.
“In order to avoid…the annihilation of civilians we reiterate our acceptance of the five points” for a ceasefire, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi said in an audio recording posted on the Internet.
Government conditions include a rebel withdrawal, the removal of rebel checkpoints and clarification of the fate of kidnapped foreigners. The rebels must also return captured military and civilian equipment and refrain from intervening in local authority affairs.
Houthi said the rebels had launched three previous initiatives to end the conflict but had been rebuffed by the government.
The U.N. refugee agency said on Friday fighting in northern Yemen was spreading and that the five-year conflict had driven 250,000 people from their homes, deepening a humanitarian crisis.
The number of displaced in the Arab world’s poorest country has doubled since August when the latest round of fighting between the government and Houthi rebels erupted, it said.
Riyadh declared victory over the rebels on Wednesday following a ceasefire offer from the insurgents, who said they had withdrawn from Saudi territory.