Joint observation posts have been set up in Hodeidah, UN says
Four joint observation posts – manned by troops loyal to Yemen’s government and Houthi rebels – have been established in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, the UN announced.
The head of the UN mission to the city, retired general Abhijit Guha, said on Tuesday the rival sides had finalised written agreements and posted liaison officers at all four locations.
“Mr Guha observed this process on the ground over the past four days,” the UN said.
UN monitors are stationed on a ship near Hodeidah.
Before the announcement, officials said the monitors would be on the eastern and southern outskirts of the city to help enforce a UN-brokered ceasefire agreed to by the government and rebels during talks in Sweden last December.
If the operation is successful, a second step will be to place UN monitors in the southern
Hodeidah districts of Al Duraihimi, Hays and Al Tuhaiyta. The government forces and Houthis will operate in conjunction with the UN mission to Hodeidah.
“Mr Guha urges the parties to fully support the observation and liaison process, and the mechanism to support the ceasefire and de-escalate tensions,” the UN said.
“He further calls on the parties to reduce rhetoric and support the efforts to maintain the ceasefire in Hodeidah.”
The truce agreed to in December stumbled because of breaches and the lack of agreement on how the two sides would withdraw their forces from in and around Hodeidah, under a plan in which the UN co-ordinates the management of ports.
The tentative ceasefire has reduced, but not stopped, violence, and the troop withdrawal stalled for many months before a pull-out by Iran-aligned Houthi forces from three Red Sea ports in May under phase one of the deal.
Hodeidah has become a focus of the conflict because it is the country’s main port and lifeline for millions of Yemenis on the brink of starvation.
Hodeidah has become a focus of the conflict because it is the country’s main port