U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Yemen's Shiite rebels have agreed to a cease-fire for their war-torn country, starting Thursday.

However, Kerry says the rebels' agreement was conditional on the government also agreeing to it. He says the rebels, known as Houthis, told him they're willing to participate in a unity government, to be formed by the end of the year.

President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi's government promptly rejected the cease-fire initiative. Kerry spoke on Tuesday after holding meetings with Houthis in Oman, a traditional Mideast broker.

Hadi's government is supported by a Saudi-led coalition that is waging an air campaign in Yemen to dislodge the Houthis after they seized the capital, Sanaa, in 2014.

Foreign Minister Abdel-Malek al-Mekhalfi says the deal has nothing to do with his government.