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Yemeni factions agree to set up ceasefire committee

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This handout picture released by UN Photo shows United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Sheikh Ahmad, left, attending the opening of peace talks on Yemen, in Magglingen, Switzerland, December 15, 2015. (AFP photo)

Yemen’s warring sides have agreed to form a committee to oversee a fragile ceasefire as they engage in peace talks mediated by the United Nations.

Sources close to the talks said on Saturday that representatives of the Houthi Ansarullah movement have resumed negotiations in the Swiss village of Magglingen under a proposed UN plan for the formation of the committee to monitor the truce.

Houthi officials had threatened to pull out of the talks after reports emerged Friday that the other side, forces loyal to Yemen’s fugitive former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, had captured a major town in northwestern Yemen apparently to solidify the position of the delegation representing Hadi in the negotiations.

The blitz into the town of Hazm in Jawf Province came one day after supporters of Hadi captured Harad in neighboring Hajjah Province in violation of a one-week truce which came into effect hours before the talks started on December 15.

Truce violation was intensified Friday after Saudi Arabia, which seeks to reinstate Hadi, bombarded areas in northern Yemen and reportedly opened the southern borders to allow more pro-Hadi militants into the Yemeni territory.

Sources said the two delegations agreed on the fifth day of talks to have the ceasefire violation cases monitored by the UN-proposed committee, which, according to reports, will be headed by a Lebanese army general.

Houthis and allies in the Yemeni army have recorded numerous cases of truce violation by Saudi Arabia and militants loyal to Hadi, saying Riyadh had intensified its campaign against Yemen in a bid to take advantage of the truce.

A member of Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement holds a machine gun mounted on a patrol truck securing the site of a gathering held by tribesmen loyal to the movement to show their support for the group, Sana’a, Yemen, December 15, 2015. (Reuters photo)

United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Sheikh Ahmad, who is personally mediating the talks in Switzerland, voiced deep concern on Friday at “numerous reports of violations of the cessation of hostilities.”

More than 7,500 people have been killed and over 14,000 others injured since Saudi Arabia launched an aggression against Yemen in support of Hadi on March 26.

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