Al Mukalla, Yemen: Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi agreed to UN sponsored peace talks with Iran-backed Al Houthi militants, a government spokesperson said yesterday, in a fresh bid to end months of fighting.

“The decision has been taken to attend [the talks] and a letter will be sent to the UN secretary-general [about that],” Rajeh Badi, the government spokesman told Reuters.

Also yesterday, quoting anonymous government officials in the Riyadh and Oman, Aden Al Ghad website, reported that Al Houthi militants released minister of defence Mahmoud Al Subihi on Saturday and deported him to Oman as a gesture after Hadi agreed to join talks.

The news site said that Hadi agreed to engage in direct talks with Al Houthis provided they release minister of defence and Hadi’s brother Nasser Mansour Hadi and Brigadier General Fadhel Rajjab, a commander of a an army brigade in Abyan.

The announcement came as a Sudanese army battalion joined hundreds of Arab coalition military forces in Yemen who are battling the Al Houthis. A senior security official who met with the soldiers, confirmed to Gulf News that the ship arrived in Aden on Saturday.

Meanwhile, UAE President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan ordered the dispatch of a cargo plane carrying 75 tonnes of food and medical aid to Socotra, Yemen. The move comes in line with the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.