Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Yemen's warring sides agreed Thursday to a cease-fire in the port of Hudaydah that will allow humanitarian aid to enter the country where millions are at risk of starving.
Pro-government forces and Houthi rebels have been holding peace talks in Sweden for several days, trying to bring an end to the four-year war that's killed tens of thousands and put millions at risk of starvation.
"Four devastating years of suffering for the Yemeni people," U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. "Thank you for coming here to discuss a better future for Yemen. And what you achieved is an important step."
Thursday's cease-fire is the most significant breakthrough yet for the week-long closed door summit. The agreement applies to the Hudaydah port city and the larger province. Neutral forces will move into the port to allow supplies to arrive and move freely.
"The U.N. will play a role in the port. And this will facilitate the humanitarian flow of good to the civilian population and it will improve the living conditions of millions of Yemenis," Guterres said.
The goal is to establish confidence-building measures that could pave the way for more comprehensive peace talks. Earlier this week, both sides agreed to release thousands of prisoners in an exchange next year.
There's still work to be done, as Yemen's political framework has not yet been established and the Houthi-rebel occupied Sanaa airport remains closed.
Support for the war in Yemen has dwindled in recent weeks as Saudi Arabia, which backs the pro-government forces, deals with fallout from the death of writer Jamal Khashoggi. The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to press ahead with a resolution to end U.S. military support for the war, due partly to Khashoggi's Oct. 2 killing. U.S. forces have stopped providing mid-air refueling to Saudi warplanes conducting operations in Yemen.