Yemen’s Rebels Won’t Leave the Key Port City of Hodeidah
On Tuesday, a senior Houthi rebel leader stated that his group won’t abandon the crucial port city of Hodeida, which has remained the focus for months of U.N.-orchestrated discussions with the government.
Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the head of the rebels’ Supreme Revolutionary Committees, blamed his rivals from the internationally-acknowledged government of misunderstanding the deal. He stated that the Houthis have admitted to withdraw their forces but would be controlling the area.
He stated that the Saudi-backed government “were not able to get the port forcefully and they won’t be able to capture it through tricks. He further stated that they have agreed on the re-stationing according to the presented apparatus; however, withdrawal as they are advocating, is not at all possible. He made this commences to a news agency from an undisclosed location.
Hodeida is the main entry point for humanitarian assistance to Yemen, where almost millions of Yemeni people are on the verge of facing famine. It has been going through the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
The two sides have acknowledged to pullout their forces from the port, but are split over who will govern it once they withdraw. The U.N.-orchestrated deal was dubious on that point, stating that a “local force” would take over without indicating who would lead it.
A mutual withdrawal from Hodeidah, which manages about 70% of Yemen’s imports, and the two smaller ports of Salif and Ras Issa, was reached in Sweden in December and was seen as a crucial step toward ending the battle.
However, lack of trust between the government and the Houthis affected agreement on details of the pull out. Each side has blamed the other of breaching the Hodeida truce, and fighting has continued in other parts of the nation.