The head of Yemen's separatist movement said he was ready to take part in peace talks after clashes with pro-government forces killed dozens in second city Aden.
The fighting in Yemen's southern port city pitted Saudi-backed government forces against the UAE-trained Security Belt Force, both of which have been fighting Houthi rebels who seized the capital Sanaa in 2014.
While the two sides are technically supported by a Saudi and Emirati-dominated military coalition, the Security Belt is largely made up of fighters who oppose President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and seek an independent south Yemen.
Last week the separatists seized army bases and a presidential palace in temporary capital Aden, prompting the government to accuse the UAE of backing a "coup".
The chief of the separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC), which is backed by the bulk of Security Belt fighters, said late Sunday he was committed to a ceasefire in Aden.
Aidarus al-Zubaidi said last week's violence had been provoked by Hadi's forces, who planned to assassinate the movement's leaders then "provoke our people and liquidate our presence".
That left separatist fighters with "only two options: either self-defence, or surrender and accepting the liquidation of our just cause," Zubaidi said, according to an English translation of his televised speech posted on the STC website.
Yemen's government has accused the STC and the UAE of staging a "coup" against it.
The International Committee for the Red Cross said Monday that clinics had reported "scores dead" and hundreds wounded in the fighting, which threatened to open a new front in a conflict that has devastated the Arab world's poorest country.
"Hospitals struggling without basic equipment. Wounded people dying as checkpoints prevent them reaching clinics," the ICRC said in a tweet.