Yemen: Lollesgaard Inspects Houthi Withdrawal on Tuesday

Clay Curtis
May 13, 2019

But they've yet to announce a withdrawal.

The United Nations secured the Hodeidah deal at peace talks in Sweden, the first in two years, to avert a full-scale assault on the port that risked triggering mass starvation.

Military equipment is expected to be removed in the coming days, while demining is also planned, the statement said.

Yemen's capital Sanaa is now held by the Iran-backed Houthis, who killed then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh in December 2017.

It said the redeployment would allow the United Nations to take "a leading role" in supporting the Red Sea Ports Corporation in managing the ports and enhance UN checks on cargoes.

Both sides agreed in December to withdraw from Hodeida, which handles 70 percent of Yemen's food imports and humanitarian aid.

He said that the Houthi fighters continued in digging underground trenches and planting landmines randomly in and around farms or residential areas, paving the way for another military escalation instead of the unilateral withdrawal.

The Houthis control the biggest urban centers while Hadi's government holds the southern port of Aden and a string of coastal towns.

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On Saturday, Yemen's Houthi rebels began pulling out from two ports of Hodeidah Province, eyewitnesses stated.

Yemen's government has asked the United Nations to give timeframes for the next steps of the peace deal, after Houthi forces began withdrawing in the most significant advance yet for efforts to end the four-year war and relieve civilians of poverty and hunger.

Last year's deal was hailed as a breakthrough that offered the best chance so far of ending the war in Yemen, where a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates is fighting on the government's side.

Yemen s conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, many of them civilians, relief agencies say.

"Now, the withdrawal is not unilateral anymore", Dbish said, adding that it became part of the first phase of the redeployment plan in Hodeidah and its three ports.

"This is totally rejected by us, and the agreement must be implemented in full, especially with regards to the identity of the troops that will take over from the Houthis", Taher said.

At Stockholm, it was hoped the redeployment would happen in January, but its implementation has repeatedly stalled on a lack of trust between the combatants: the Iran-aligned Houthis and a coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, of the internationally recognised Yemeni government and other forces.

He warned that the Houthi announcement aimed at misleading the worldwide community just days before convening the next session of the UN Security Council to avoid any firm global stance. Coalition forces, now massed 4km from Hodeidah port on the edges of the city, are to retreat 1km from two flashpoint districts.

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