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UPDATE 1-Saudi Arabia says Yemen truce to begin on Tuesday, urges Houthi to agree

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PARIS, May 8 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia said on Friday a five-day humanitarian ceasefire in Yemen would begin on Tuesday if the Iranian-allied Houthi militia it has been fighting agreed to the pause.

Supported by the United States, a Saudi-led coalition began air strikes against the Houthis and forces loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh on March 26 with the aim of restoring the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

International concern about the humanitarian situation has grown as the strikes have killed more than 1,300 people, sent locals fleeing from their homes and destroyed infrastructure - leading to shortages of food, medicine and fuel.

"This is a chance for the Houthi to show they care about their people, and we hope they take up this offer for the good of Yemen," Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told a news conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Jubeir said the date of the ceasefire was set to allow time for donors to coordinate aid supplies. It would come into force at 11 p.m. (2000 GMT).

"It is critically important that all countries are able to send as much relief, as efficiently, as quickly to as many Yemenis as possible," he added.

The offer of a truce came days after the Houthis shelled Saudi border towns, prompting more air strikes.

"A humanitarian catastrophe is building ... and clearly this is an important moment," Kerry said.

Without naming Iran, Kerry said those who supported the Houthis should encourage the group's leaders and rank-and-file to "live by this opportunity".

"The United States is working with the international community now to try to organise as much humanitarian assistance as possible to flow once that ceasefire takes effect working through the United Nations," he added.

Kerry said the ceasefire opened the door the possibility of peace talks between the warring parties. He said, however, the truce "is not peace" and said it was important that Yemen's leaders tried to reach a lasting political settlement.

"They are going to have to make tough choices more than just a ceasefire because even the most durable of ceasefire is not a substitute for peace," he said. (Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Alison Williams)

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