Yemeni rivals breach truce

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The Independent Online
Sanaa (Reuter) - Artillery duels destroyed a short-lived ceasefire in Yemen's civil war yesterday but the government in the north, which declared the truce, said it would stop fighting the moment its secessionist southern foes did.

Each side accused the other of violating the ceasefire which the north declared from midnight on Monday following pressure from the United Nations and Gulf Arab neighbours.

Northern shells landed around Aden, self-declared capital of the south which repudiated Yemen's 1990 union agreement on 21 May. Southern artillery blasted positions of the northern army which had been trying to reunite Yemen by force.

The Foreign Minister, Mohammad Salem Basendwa, who announced the northern ceasefire, said in Sanaa yesterday the UN Secretary- General, Boutros Boutros- Ghali, had been informed of its renewed offer.

'We urged the United Nations Secretary-General to take the necessary steps to expedite enforcing the ceasefire . . . We will abide by the ceasefire the moment the mutineers stop firing at our forces,' Mr Basendwa said.

He urged Gulf Arab states - who with Egypt proposed a Security Council ceasefire resolution passed last week - to take action against the south for breaking the truce.

In Geneva, Mr Boutros- Ghali met his new Yemen troubleshooter, Lakhdar al- Ibrahimi, from Algeria, and urged the two sides to heed the Security Council demand for an immediate ceasefire.

'The Secretary-General has taken note of the first attempt at achieving a ceasefire in Yemen, and urged the parties concerned to abide by it and return immediately to negotiations which would permit a peaceful resolution of their differences,' a UN statement said.