Joint ob­ser­va­tion posts have been set up in Hodei­dah, UN says

The National - News - - NEWS - ARTHUR MacMIL­LAN

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

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