Reporting from Cairo — A cease-fire to end a sporadic five-year war between the Yemeni government and Shiite Muslim rebels in the north will take effect beginning Friday, according to an official statement released to Yemen's official news agency.
The announcement came as the government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh also has been trying to defeat a resurgent Al Qaeda network and quell a deepening secessionist movement in the south. The war with the Houthi rebels in the northern mountains has killed hundreds of people, displaced more than 200,000 villagers and strained impoverished Yemen's military.
Word of the cease-fire followed a Thursday meeting between Saleh and members of parliament. The conditions include a number of concessions by the rebels, such as withdrawing from all districts in Saada province, clearing land mines, stopping incursions into Saudi Arabia and returning looted military equipment.
"The cease-fire comes to prevent bloodshed and bring peace into the region and it is conditional upon the commitment of the insurgents to implementing the conditions on the ground," said the government statement carried by Yemen's Saba news agency.