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N. YEMEN DECLARES CEASE-FIRE IN RESPONSE TO SECESSIONISTS

SHARE N. YEMEN DECLARES CEASE-FIRE IN RESPONSE TO SECESSIONISTS

Northern Yemen declared a three-hour cease-fire Monday in response to what it called an appeal from secessionist leaders in the south.

The north also accused Saudi Arabia of massing troops on the border with Yemen and mobilizing "mercenaries" to fight with the southern secessionists.The northern-run state news agency SABA said the truce, beginning at 6 a.m., was to "give the separatists the opportunity, for the fifth time, to stop fighting and avoid more bloodshed and death."

All of the half-dozen truces declared in the 51/2-week civil war have broken down within hours or days.

Half an hour after Monday's truce expired, there was no word on whether fighting had ceased.

Government spokesman Abdu Burghi said if the southerners stopped shooting, the truce would be extended but if not, the north would resume hostilities.

There was no word from the southern leadership on the truce.

Conservative North Yemen and socialist South Yemen merged into a single state in 1990, a popular union that was beset nevertheless by cultural and ideological differences.

Full-fledged war broke out May 4 after a nine-month power struggle between President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a northerner, and Ali Salem al-Beidh, a southerner who served as vice president.