DUBAI (Reuters) - A Saudi-led coalition that has been bombing the Houthi movement in Yemen for nine months announced on Saturday the end of a ceasefire that began on Dec. 15, the Saudi state news agency SPA said, in a setback to attempts to end the conflict.
The ceasefire began in tandem with peace talks sponsored by the United Nations, but it was repeatedly violated by both sides. Nearly 6,000 people have been killed since the Saudi coalition entered the conflict in March, almost half of them civilians.
The coalition began its military campaign in prevent the Houthis, whom it sees as a proxy for Iran, from taking complete control of Yemen after seizing much of the north last year. The Houthis accuse the coalition of launching a war of aggression.
“The leadership of the coalition supporting legitimacy in Yemen announces the end of the truce in Yemen beginning at 1400 (1100 GMT) on Saturday,” the agency said.
“The coalition has been and still is keen to create the right conditions to find a peaceful solution,” the statement said. But the ceasefire could not be maintained because of “the continuation of the Houthi militias and Saleh forces in violating it.”
The statement charged that Houthis and Yemeni troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh had fired ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia, targeted its border posts and shelled civilian areas where the Houthis are fighting pro-Saudi Yemeni forces.
The U.N. talks have failed to find a political solution that would end the conflict. Negotiations are set to resume on Jan. 14. It is unclear whether the resumption of full-scale fighting will scupper the peace process.
Reporting By Omar Fahmy and Noah Browning, editing by Larry King