Yemen's foreign ministry says it has informed UN envoy Martin Griffiths that it will take part in proposed peace talks with Houthi rebels in Sweden, according to official Saba news agency.
Yemen's internationally-recognised government announced on Monday it has informed UN envoy Martin Griffiths that it will take part in proposed peace talks with Houthi rebels to be held in Sweden.
"The government has informed the UN envoy to Yemen... that it will send a government delegation to the talks with the aim of reaching a political solution," the foreign ministry said, quoted by the official Saba news agency.
Griffiths is expected to visit the Yemeni capital within days for talks with the Houthi rebels in preparation for the peace talks.
Earlier on Monday, Yemen's Houthi movement said it was halting drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and their Yemeni allies, responding to a demand from the United Nations.
International pressure has mounted on Yemen's warring parties to end the war that has killed between 10,000 and 40,000 people and pushed the country to the verge of starvation.
Read more on the malnourished children of Yemen here.
Ready for broader ceasefire
The move from the Houthi group came after the Saudi-led coalition ordered a halt in its offensive against Yemen’s main port city Hudaida, which has become the focus of the war.
"After our contacts with the UN envoy and his request to stop drone and missile strikes ... We announce our initiative ... to halt missile and drone strikes on the countries of aggression," Mohammed Ali al Houthi, the head of the Houthis' Supreme Revolutionary Committee, said in a statement.
Griffiths welcomed the Houthis' announcement on Monday.
"The special envoy welcomes Ansarullah's (the Houthis) announcement ... hopes that all parties continue to exercise restraint, to create a conducive environment for convening the consultations," Griffiths said in a Twitter post.
The rebel group which has been battling the Saudi-backed government for nearly four years added it was ready for a broader ceasefire if "the Saudi-led coalition wants peace."
"(The decision) came to support the UN envoy, to show good faith and support the peace efforts," the statement said.
UN special envoy Martin Griffiths is trying to salvage peace talks after a round in September collapsed when the Houthis did not show up. He hopes to convene talks before the end of the year in Sweden to agree on a framework for peace under a transitional government.
Yemen's parties have given "firm assurances" they are committed to attending peace talks to be convened shortly, Griffiths told the UN Security Council on Friday, and pledged to escort the Houthi delegation from Sanaa if needed.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE both have said they support UN-led peace talks.
The Houthis say their missile attacks on Saudi Arabia are in retaliation for air raids on Yemen by the Western-backed coalition, which entered Yemen’s war in 2015 to try to restore the Saudi-backed government of President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi.
The coalition has carried out thousands of air strikes in the impoverished country that have hit schools, markets and hospitals, killing thousands of people — though it says it does not target civilians.
The Houthis last July unilaterally halted attacks in the Red Sea to support peace efforts, after Saudi Arabia suspended temporarily oil exports through a strategic Red Sea channel following attacks on crude tankers.
Key Western allies including the United States have been urgently calling for a ceasefire ahead of the renewed UN efforts.
Western countries have provided arms and intelligence to the Arab states in the alliance, but have shown increasing reservations about the conflict since the murder of US-based Saudi journalist and critic Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul early last month.
UN draft resolution calls for truce
Meanwhile, a UN draft resolution on Yemen presented to the Security Council on Monday called for an immediate truce in the port city of Hodeida and sets a two-week deadline for the warring sides to remove all barriers to humanitarian aid, according to the draft seen by AFP news agency.
Britain circulated the draft to the 14 other council members after hearing a report on Friday from a UN envoy working to arrange peace talks in Sweden to end the nearly four-year war.
A vote on the measure has yet to be scheduled.
The proposed resolution would significantly ratchet up the pressure on both sides to seek a negotiated settlement in Yemen, where millions are on the brink of starvation.