UN envoy to Yemen says rebel group agrees to discuss disarmament, other issues

The U.N. envoy to Yemen says the country's president and a rebel group have agreed to discuss disarming.

Jamal Benomar told reporters Thursday that the Hawthis agreed to the initiative by President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

The Shiite Hawthis led a six-year insurgency in the north that officially ended in 2010, but a recent escalation in fighting with ultraconservative Sunni tribesmen turned several northern cities into war zones.

Benomar also said Yemen's political transition "has moved to the next stage" and that a draft constitution will be finalized in coming months.

Yemen has struggled with transitioning to democracy since Arab Spring protests in 2011 forced out longtime ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh.