WASHINGTON, July 30 (UPI) -- A cease-fire agreement reached with Shiite rebels in northern Yemen is intact despite recent clashes with government forces, a Yemeni spokesman said.
Yemeni forces in August 2009 launched a scorched-earth campaign against Houthi rebels in the north of the country. The conflict threatened to spill over the border to Saudi Arabia before the Yemeni government reached a cease-fire agreement with the rebel group in February.
Houthi rebels this week captured hundreds of army soldiers in the north of the country.
Mohammed Albash, a spokesman for the Yemeni Embassy in Washington, told CNN that the cease-fire agreement was still in force.
"To the best of my knowledge, at least three senior Houthi representatives have been invited to participate in the national dialogue being organized by the president," he said.
The dialogue, he said, was aimed at resolving lingering political conflicts between allies of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and members of the opposition.
A Yemeni analyst told the U.N. humanitarian news agency IRIN this week on condition of anonymity, however, that renewed clashes with Houthi rebels were imminent.
"We have witnessed too many violations and too much violence," he said. "A seventh round of clashes is looming."