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  • Members of a Yemeni coast guard force are pictured during their deployment as part of a U.N.-sponsored peace agreement, at the Red Sea city of Hodeidah, Yemen December 29, 2018.

    Members of a Yemeni coast guard force are pictured during their deployment as part of a U.N.-sponsored peace agreement, at the Red Sea city of Hodeidah, Yemen December 29, 2018. | Photo: Retuers

Published 31 December 2018
Opinion

“Any redeployment would only be credible if all parties and the UN are able to observe and verify that it is in line with the Stockholm Agreement.”

The United Nations called on the Yemeni Houthi rebels to honor the Sweden Agreement to withdraw from the port city of Hodeidah and allow for its supervision, as part of the negotiated cease-fire with government forces.

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For their part, Houthi rebels confirmed having gone through with the handover of the port city to coastguards. “Our forces started withdrawing last night from the port city of Hodeidah, as agreed in Sweden,” said a Houthi spokesman.

This version was contradicted by a pro-government official who was “surprised” by the statement, “The Houthis have taken advantage of their control of Hodeidah and placed their fighters in both the navy and coastguard, something that has been a major source of concern for the legitimate government,” said the official.

According to the Sweden Agreement, both parties agreed to open humanitarian corridors to allow for the transport of resources necessary to help avoid the likely onset of starvation because of a conflict-induced supply cut off in the port city through which 70 percent of Yemen’s imports flow.

The main corridor in question is one which connects the port city of Hodeidah with the Houthi held capital of Sanaa.

The head of the United Nation’s monitoring team, retired general Patrick Cammaert expressed his disappointment on the matter to the Houthi rebels. The U.N.’ Secretary General Antonio Guterres reiterated this stance on the lack of establishment of the key humanitarian route.

Cammaert has been in contact with the main parties to the conflict to discuss “the redeployment plans of the parties and the liaison, monitoring, and coordination mechanism that will be required to monitor the ceasefire and ensure that credible redeployment is achieved,” according to Guterre’s spokesman.  

The Yemeni war started in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and 12 of its regional allies formed a coalition to restore the pro-Saudi government into power after the Houthi movement took over the capital Sanaa. Saudi Arabia and its allies, who have received logistic and intelligence support for their intervention in Yemen, have been accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity over intentionally targeting civilians as well as allegations of torture.

The country has also spiraled into one of the most catastrophic humanitarian disasters of the 21st century. More than 24 million people, representing three-quarters of the population, are in need of assistance and protection, and 20 million people lack access to food, according to the United Nations.

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