Yemeni rebels confirm their intention to withdraw from Hodeidah

Yemen War
File AFP

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Yemeni rebels announced their intention to carry out a “unilateral withdrawal” from three ports in the province of Hodeidah in western Yemen, saying it was the result of the refusal of pro-government forces to implement the Swedish agreement.

“The withdrawal is a one-sided step,” wrote Supreme Leader of the Supreme Revolutionary Committee Mohammad Ali al-Houthi in a tweet on his Twitter account. “It will take place at 10:00 a.m. (0700 GMT) on Saturday.”

He added that “the unilateral withdrawal by the army and the committees was the result of the rejection of the US-British aggression against Saudi Arabia and their allies, the implementation of the agreement.”

The head of the United Nations truce monitoring committee said on Friday that Houthi rebels would begin withdrawing from the Yemeni city of Hodeidah on Saturday.

“This is the first practical step on the ground since the Hudaydah agreement,” said General Michael Lollesgaard, adding that the withdrawal of Houthi rebels would be completed by Tuesday.

A UN mission led by the Danish general will oversee the withdrawal of the Houthis.

The United Nations announced in February an agreement on a two-phase withdrawal from the city of Hodeidah and its ports, but the agreement was not implemented.

UN diplomats said the Houthis had refused to withdraw from ports, fearing that they would be controlled and controlled by forces linked to the Saudi-led military alliance.

– “Evasive” –

The internationally recognized Yemeni government has welcomed “any serious steps” to implement the deal, but has warned against attempts by the Houthi rebels to “mislead” the international community.

“We welcome any serious step towards the implementation of the Swedish agreement on the redeployment in the ports and the province of Hodeidah,” Yemeni Information Minister Muammar al-Iryani said in a tweet on Twitter, warning of “attempts by the militia to mislead the international community and the Security Council before its next meeting.”

He explained that the first step of the agreement provides for the withdrawal of the Houthis from the ports of Salib and Ras Issa and the delivery of maps of mines for the United Nations and disarmament, while the second step to withdraw from the port of Hodeidah main and the withdrawal of government forces from the area calling for “Kilo 8.”

“Any unilateral proliferation that does not allow for the principle of monitoring and joint verification of the implementation of the terms of the Swedish agreement is an evasive and circumventing that can not be accepted,” he said.

Located on the Red Sea, Hodeidah passes through its ports about 70 percent of Yemen’s imports and humanitarian aid, making it the lifeline of millions of people who are on the verge of starvation.

Rebels control most of the city, while government forces are on its southern and eastern sides.

A fragile cease-fire is in place in the western Yemeni province amid an exchange of accusations of violating it since December 18.

Under the agreement signed in Sweden on December 13, the rebels agreed to redeploy from Hodeidah.

Since 2014, Yemen has been embroiled in a war between pro-government Shi’ite rebels and pro-government forces that escalated as Saudi Arabia led a military alliance in March in support of the internationally recognized government.

The conflict in Yemen has killed tens of thousands of people, including a large number of civilians, according to various humanitarian organizations.

There are still 3.3 million displaced people, while 24.1 million people, more than two thirds of the population, need assistance, according to the United Nations, which describes the humanitarian crisis in Yemen as the worst in the world today.

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