The UN has said Yemen's warring parties have agreed to a two-month extendable truce starting tomorrow, the first day of Ramadan for many Muslims, and an accord on fuel shipments and Sanaa airport.

"The parties to the conflict have responded positively to a United Nations proposal for a two-month truce which comes into effect tomorrow 2 April at 1900hrs," said UN special envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg.

"The truce can be renewed beyond the two-month period with the consent of the parties."

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, welcomed the announcement and commended "all those who have worked tirelessly to bring about this agreement".

He added: "The people of Yemen have suffered for far too long, and this truce can bring much needed respite from violence. We urge all parties to respect their undertakings in full."

US President Joe Biden has also welcomed the truce as a "reprieve for the Yemeni people," but said the breakthrough was still insufficient.

"These are important steps, but they are not enough. The ceasefire must be adhered to, and as I have said before, it is imperative that we end this war," Mr Biden said in a statement.

The announcement comes as discussions on Yemen's devastating conflict take place in Saudi Arabia, which leads a military coalition supporting the government against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

The insurgents, who rejected joining talks held on enemy territory, last week made a surprise offer of a temporary truce and a prisoner swap.

The coalition later said it would cease military operations in Yemen during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The ceasefire, the first since April 2020, has been respected so far.

"The parties accepted to halt all offensive military air, ground and maritime operations inside Yemen and across its borders," Mr Grundberg said.

"They also agreed for fuel ships to enter into Hodeida (province's) ports and commercial flights to operate in and out of Sanaa airport to predetermined destinations in the region."

"They further agreed to meet under my auspices to open roads in Taiz and other governorates in Yemen," he added.

The UN envoy thanked both sides for working with him in "good faith".

"The aim of this truce is to give Yemenis a necessary break from violence, relief from the humanitarian suffering and most importantly hope that an end to this conflict is possible," he added.


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The rebels have shunned the week-long discussions, which began in Riyadh on Wednesday and are hosted by the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council.

But the recent developments bring a glimmer of hope in a brutal war that has killed hundreds of thousands and left millions on the brink of famine in Yemen, long the Arab world's poorest country.

Mr Grundberg said he would continue to engage with the parties during the two months, "with the aim to reach a permanent ceasefire", and urged both sides to adhere to the truce.

The Houthis last week said they had agreed to a prisoner swap that would free 1,400 of their fighters in exchange for 823 pro-government personnel, including 16 Saudis and three Sudanese.

The last prisoner swap in Yemen's war was in October 2020, when 1,056 were released on each side, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Yemen's devastated economy and its complex political situation as well as military matters and humanitarian aid are all on the table at the Riyadh talks.

Yemen's 30 million people are in dire need of assistance.

A UN donors' conference last month raised less than a third of the $4.27 billion target, prompting dark warnings for a country where 80% of the population depends on aid.