UN peace plan in Yemen awaits rebel Huthis response

UN peace plan in Yemen awaits rebel Huthis response
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KUWAIT CITY (APP) - Yemen 's government on Sunday accepted a UN-proposed plan to end fighting that has left thousands dead, but there was no word from Iran-backed rebels who have intensified attacks on the Saudi border.

The draft agreement, which follows several months of UN-brokered negotiations in Kuwait, stipulates that the Huthi Shiite rebels must withdraw from Sanaa, which they overran in September 2014.

But it was unclear if the insurgents were ready to end their occupation of the capital, which they have refused to cede despite a more than year-long military campaign by Arab coalition.

Security deteriorated further after the Huthi rebels swept into the capital and pushed south, forcing President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi 's government to flee into exile in March last year.

The conflict has killed more than 6,400 people and displaced 2.8 million since then, according to UN figures.

Over 80 percent of the population urgently needs humanitarian aid.

The proposed peace deal is broadly in line with the demands of Hadi's Saudi-backed government.

It replaces a roadmap previously proposed by UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed that stipulated the creation of a unity government including the insurgents, which was rejected by Hadi's government.

Under the new plan, a political dialogue between various Yemeni factions would start 45 days after the rebels withdraw and hand over heavy weapons to a military committee to be formed by Hadi.

Prisoners of war would also be freed.

The government's acceptance came after a high-level meeting in Riyadh chaired by Hadi.

"The meeting approved the draft agreement presented by the United Nations calling for an end to the armed conflict and the withdrawal (of rebels) from Sanaa" and other cities they have seized, said a statement.

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