UN envoy to Yemen ends visit on positive note, says he expects a truce to be announced soon

A Yemeni news agency run by Shiite rebels is quoting the U.N. envoy to the country as saying at the end of his visit that he expects a truce to be announced within 24 hours.

SABA news agency reported that the U.N. envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, left the capital of Sanaa on Thursday after days of mediation efforts. More consultations are expected.

The report quotes the envoy as saying he is "cautiously optimistic" about a cease-fire, which could — at least temporarily — halt the raging months-old conflict that has devastated the impoverished country.

More than 3,000 people have been killed since March, when a Saudi-led and U.S.-backed coalition began launching airstrikes against the rebels who seized control of the capital and other cities starting September.