After four years of intense fighting leading to one of the worst contemporary humanitarian crisis, the Saudi-backed government and the Houthi rebels are finally working to remove their troops from the key port city of Hodeida.
"I believe that this war in Yemen is eminently resolvable," U.N. envoy Martin Griffiths told reporters Tuesday.
All fighting parties as well as the international community support the Stockholm U.N. peace deal and are making progress to achieving it, he said. The peace deal was established last December in Sweden.
The Arabian Peninsula's state is gripped since 2015 in a power struggle whose main victims have so far been the civilians as the war killed tens of thousands, with 3.3 million people displaced and 24.1 million — more than two-thirds of the population — in need of urgent aid.
Griffiths said that even though the Stockholm agreement will take some time to be fully implemented, the parties along with the international community see it as a way to start the political negotiations.
"Both parties continue to insist that they want a political solution and the military solution is not available, they remain committed to the Stockholm agreement in all its different aspects," Griffiths wrote in a statement published by the office of the special envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen (OSESGY).
In an encouraging sign of progress in #Hodeida, parties agreed operational details of all redeployments envisaged in #Stockholm. An agreement on local security forces remains a major hurdle. Griffiths called on the parties “to muster the political will to make this happen” (2/3)
“All those with whom I spoke were clear that progress in realizing the objectives of the Stockholm Agreement, made last December, is crucial for the chances of political negotiations to end the war,” the U.N. representative added.
Last week the parties in conflict gathered on the neutral ground of a U.N. ship in the Red Sea. The meeting was a surprising breakthrough as both sides agreed on the technical aspects of a ceasefire deal in the crucial port of Hodeida.
“I have been reassured in every case by their unanimous desire to see progress towards a political solution, and to see it quickly,” said the U.N. envoy, adding that “the parties agreed on the operational details of all redeployments envisaged in our talks in Stockholm. This is an important breakthrough and an encouraging sign of progress.”
However, various issues are still unresolved, including how to manage the port's revenue and governance as well as how to handle local security forces, Griffiths said.
Dubbed as the “Forgotten War,” the Yemeni civil war started on March 26, 2015, when Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates led a coalition of countries in a military campaign against the Houthi rebels in Yemen in support of the Saudi-backed government of Abd-Rabu Mansour Hadi.
The conflict has since turned into a proxy war between Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Iran. A narrative rejected by the Houthis who say that they took power from the Saudi-backed government in order to end Saudi interference into the country's affairs.
As it is likely to come to an end, many wonder if the war was worth fighting, as the consequences have been disastrous claiming tens of thousands of lives and resulting in a situation of catastrophe on the humanitarian level.