Yemen: Houthis begin withdrawing from three major ports

Yemen War
Houthi rebels ride on the back of a truck during a rally held to mobilise fighters for the battles against government forces, in Sanaa, Yemen December 1, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi? - RTSU81M

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — The Houthi rebels will begin their withdrawal from three main ports in Hodeidah on Saturday, the first of its practical steps since the ceasefire was declared in December , the head of the United Nations truce committee said on Friday.

“We welcome the offer and intentions of the Houthis to carry out an initial unilateral redeployment from the ports of Hodeidah, Salib and Ras Issa,” said General Michael Lollesgaard, head of the UN mission to monitor the withdrawal.

Withdrawal under the agreement of Sweden.

The parties to the Yemeni conflict reached an agreement in Sweden in December last year to withdraw all fighters from the city of Hodeidah, its vital harbor and two other ports under the control of the Houthis in the province of the same name. But the deal was not implemented, amid mutual accusations of breaking the ceasefire.

According to the agreement, the United Nations also announced in February that talks between the parties to the conflict in the context of the agreement under UN auspices would proceed to withdraw from the city of Hodeidah and its ports in two phases, but the agreement was not implemented again.

“The worst humanitarian crisis in the world”

The port of Hodeidah is the heart of life in Yemen, where the country receives the majority of humanitarian aid. UN diplomats said the Houthis had refused to withdraw from the ports, fearing they would be controlled by forces linked to the Saudi-led military alliance.

Yemen is living a deadly war, which the United Nations considers the “worst humanitarian crisis in the world” at present. There are still 3.3 million displaced persons, while 24.1 million people, or more than two thirds of the population, need assistance, according to the organization.

The four-year-old conflict has also killed tens of thousands of people, including many civilians, according to various humanitarian organizations.

Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia has led an Arab alliance in support of Yemeni government forces in the face of Iranian-backed Houthis.

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