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Yemen’s president calls for cease-fire and rebel withdrawal

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United Nations: Yemen’s president is proposing a 15-day cease-fire that would coincide with the withdrawal of Shiite rebel militias from all government institutions and military installations and all cities and provinces even the province they call home.

President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s proposal, obtained Friday by The Associated Press, was given to the UN envoy for Yemen in Saudi Arabia’s capital on Thursday, and Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed was heading to Oman yesterday to meet with Houthi representatives to discuss it, according to a UN diplomat.

Yemen’s government has expressed support for a cease-fire in the past, but this might be its first formal proposal for one.

The proposal, dated Thursday, calls for the Houthi rebels and allied troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh to immediately implement a UN Security Council resolution which demands an end to violence and a swift return to UN-led peace talks.

Hadi’s proposal comes as pro-government troops, backed by a Saudi-led coalition carrying out airstrikes, have regained strategic ground from the rebels, including the strategic southern port of Aden.

Yemen’s government has repeatedly demanded that the Houthis withdraw.

More than 4,000 people have been killed in the Arab world’s poorest country since March, when the US-backed coalition began launching airstrikes against the rebels who have seized control of the capital Sanaa and other cities.

Hadi, was forced to flee, is now in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

Past attempts at a humanitarian pause in the fighting have failed, and coalition restrictions on air and sea ports have made aid delivery a challenge. UN officials warned this week that the conflict has pushed the country to the brink of famine.

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