AP – Yemen’s internationally recognized government and Shiite rebels who have controlled the capital Sanaa since September last year agreed Saturday to start a weeklong ceasefire on the eve of direct talks in Geneva, both sides confirmed.

President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi will order his commanders to halt all fire five minutes before midnight on Monday, said officials in Hadi’s office.

The legitimate government has long requested the unconditional implementation of a UN Security Council resolution that requires the rebels to withdraw from all areas they control and lay down arms captured in months of fighting.

The Security Council approved the resolution in April, after a Saudi-led coalition began launching airstrikes in March against the Houthi rebels in support of the internationally recognized government.

Even with the approaching ceasefire, clashes intensified across several front lines in the country.

More than 27 fighters from both sides were killed in Taiz and Lahj provinces late Friday and Saturday.

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