SANAA, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- Yemen's Houthi group and its ally, former President Ali Abdullah Saleh's party, said Thursday they were ready to commit themselves to ceasefire and join a unity government in line with a roadmap put forward by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
"We agree to the ceasefire as of Nov. 17 as long as the other sides commit to implement the truce terms," said Houthis and Saleh's party in a joint statement obtained by Xinhua.
On Tuesday, Kerry, during his recent Gulf tour, announced the ceasefire in the Omani capital Muscat, saying that the Houthi group and the Saudi-led coalition had agreed on a cessation starting Thursday. He met with representatives of Houthis and Saudi-led coalition backing Yemeni internationally recognized exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. ( "We also agree to the arrangements set out by UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed for attending the peace talks proposed to be held by the end of this current month," they said.
The agreement aimed to pave the way for resuming the UN-sponsored peace talks between Houthis, Saleh's party and the Saudi-led coalition. Kerry said the roadmap was strongly supported by the UN envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.
"We declare our commitment to join a national unity government in the capital Sanaa before the end of this year," they added.
However, Hadi's Foreign Minister Abdel-Malik al-Mekhlafi responded to Kerry's roadmap as "no more than a media bubble."
"The government was not aware of what Secretary Kerry announced about reaching an agreement with Houthis," Mekhlafi wrote on his official Twitter page.
Mekhlafi said Kerry's announcement was in conflict with UN Security Council Resolution 2216.
In the resolution, the Security Council demands that the Houthis withdraw from all areas seized during the latest conflicts, relinquish arms seized from military and security institutions, cease all actions falling exclusively within the authority of the legitimate Yemeni government, and fully implement previous council resolutions.
The new proposed roadmap called for naming a new vice president after the withdrawal of the Shiite Houthi rebels from the capital Sanaa.
It also suggested forming a new government formed by the warring sides and not be led by Hadi who would transfer his power to the new vice president.
The situation in Yemen has deteriorated economically and politically since March 2015, when a war broke out between the Shiite Houthi group, supported by former President Saleh, and the government backed by Saudi-led Arab coalition.
Houthis and Saleh's forces forced Hadi and his government into exile after taking over most of Yemen's northern governorates in late 2014, while government forces backed recapturing the south from Houthi fighters in mid-2015.
The civil war, ground battles and airstrikes have already killed more than 10,000 people, half of them civilians, injured more than 35,000 others and displaced over 2 million, according to humanitarian agencies.