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N. YEMEN DECLARES CEASE-FIRE; MEDIATOR HEADS TO SAUDI ARABIA

SHARE N. YEMEN DECLARES CEASE-FIRE; MEDIATOR HEADS TO SAUDI ARABIA

The north called a cease-fire Friday, its third this week, as a veteran U.N. peace negotiator headed to Saudi Arabia to mediate an end to the 5-week-old civil war.

Three previous truces between the north and south, including two announced by the north this week, had failed within hours.A government statement said the new truce would take effect at midnight Friday (3 p.m. MDT) and would be supervised by a north-south military commission that had been set up earlier this year to stave off civil war.

However, it did not say whether the other parties on the commission had agreed to revive the group, which was sidelined by the outbreak of war.

"The Yemeni government has a new initiative to show that they respect the cease-fire" called for last week by the United Nations Security Council, the government said.

It said the committee would meet for the first time on Saturday and monitor the truce from the front line in the town of Sabir, about 16 miles outside the besieged southern stronghold of Aden.

The statement also said southern forces shelled residential areas of Aden on Friday and blamed it on the north.

Radio San`a said U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who brokered an end to Lebanon's 1975-90 civil war, left the northern Yemeni capital San`a "disappointed" by violations of the cease-fire he negotiated on Thursday.

However, Brahimi's spokesman, Nejib Friji, said the former Algerian foreign minister was unfazed by the persistent fighting.

Brahimi's visit to Saudi Arabia reflected his apparent desire to involve Yemen's Arab neighbors in solving the conflict. The fighting has stayed within Yemeni borders, but other Arab states are widely believed to be backing both sides with weapons and money.

War erupted on May 4 after a nine-month power struggle between President Ali Abdullah Saleh and Vice President Ali Salem Al-Beidh crippled the nation.