Envoy announces ceasefire, start date for Yemen talks

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Yemen's capital, Sana’a, in July 2015. Photo: OCHA/ Charlotte Cans

The latest round of peace talks on Yemen slated for next month will be preceded by a cessation of hostilities.

UN Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheik Ahmed made the announcement at a press conference in New York on Wednesday.

A year of conflict between forces loyal to the President and Houthi rebels has displaced more than two million people in Yemen.

Dianne Penn reports.

The nationwide cessation of hostilities will go into effect on midnight on 10 April, the envoy told journalists at UN headquarters.

He said the warring parties have agreed to the pause, which will come ahead of face-to-face talks set to start on 18 April in Kuwait.

Ismail Ould Cheik Ahmed said he has been "shuttling" between the sides and they have assured him of their participation.

"The Yemeni-Yemeni talks will focus on five main areas. First: the withdrawal of militias and armed groups. Second: the handover of heavy weaponry to the state. Third: interim security arrangements. Fourth: the restoration of state institutions and the resumption of inclusive political dialogue, in addition, on the fifth point, to the creation of a special committee for prisoners and detainees."

The UN envoy described the conflict in Yemen as "an unspeakable tragedy."

He said the war must be brought to an end before it does "irreparable damage" to the country's future and to the region.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’04″

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