PARIS (Reuters) – Yemen’s Saudi-backed government and southern separatists are close to an agreement that would end a power struggle in Aden and see coalition forces take temporary control of the port city, the government’s envoy in France said on Monday.

“We are close to a deal,” Yemen’s ambassador in France and former foreign minister Reyad Yassin Abdullah told Reuters in Paris.

Saudi Arabia, leader of an Arab coalition battling Yemen’s Houthi movement, has been hosting indirect talks for a month between the government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) to end the stand-off that had opened a new front in the multi-faceted war.

Abdullah added that coalition forces would be temporarily deployed in the southern port city and that the aim was to have an agreement in the next few weeks.

When asked whether Saudi Arabia was also considering a proposal by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement for some form of ceasefire, Abdullah said Saudi was, but he expressed doubts on the Houthi sincerity.

“Yes, but the one condition is that the Houthis stop attacking inside Yemen … it’s serious but depends on the Houthis.”

Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Leigh Thomas