Yemeni armed forces, Shiite rebels reach ceasefire deal

Yemeni armed forces, Shiite rebels reach ceasefire deal

ADEN, Yemen, June 4 (Xinhua) -- The Yemeni armed forces on Wednesday reached a ceasefire agreement with the Shiite Houthi rebels in the troubled northern province of Amran, the state-run Saba News Agency reported.

A number of high-ranking military leaders and members of the Shiite Houthi group agreed to end the fighting following talks with a presidential committee and mediation supported by UN envoy Jamal Benomar, a source from the Defense Ministry said.

"Neutral officers will monitor implementation and President Abd- Rabbu Mansour Hadi established an 11-man committee supervised by the defense minister," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

"Both sides will halt reinforcements, end large armed gatherings and entrenchments, and the military police forces will secure the central prison, checkpoints and main highways," the source added.

The deal will take effect at midnight between Wednesday and Thursday local time (2100 GMT). It stipulates an end to all military reinforcements from both sides, the deployment of impartial military monitors and the opening of the main road to the capital Sanaa, Saba said, adding that UN envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar welcomed the ceasefire deal.

Benomar's office said that it had held intensive consultations with political and security leaders and representatives of the Shiite Houthi group to end the tension in the province.

The UN envoy emphasized that both sides abiding by the deal is important to restoring security and stability to the turbulent region.

Earlier in the day, thousands of Houthi supporters organized a mass rally in Sanaa, objecting to the "military's intervention" in the conflict in Amran province, witnesses said.

During the past few months, the Shiite Houthi group has clashed with the army and Sunni tribal fighters in several northern provinces, leaving about 100 people killed.

Shiite rebels have controlled Saada Province since they signed a ceasefire deal with the government in August 2010, ending a six- year intermittent war.