Starting Today under Peace Deal Yemen’s Houthi Rebels would pull Out from Two Ports
Iranian-allied Houthi rebels have admitted to move away from two Yemeni ports from Monday, i.e. 25th February, whereas pull out from the main Hodeidah port will take place at a later date. According to sources, the retraction from the important Hodeidah port would take place next to a withdrawal of coalition-backed forces gathered outside the city.
Houthi forces will pull back 5 km (3 miles) from the ports of Saleef, which is used for grain, and Ras Isa, an oil terminal, as a first step of the accord that was reached with the internationally recognized government.
The Houthi withdrawal from Hodeidah port and the pull-back by coalition forces 1 km away from the city’s “Kilo 7” eastern suburb would be considered as a second step.
An orderly troop pullout from Hodeidah, now a key point of an almost four-years of war, is key to U.N.-led attempt to avoid a full-scale attack on the port and make the way for political negotiations.
The Yemen battle has killed tens of thousands of people and forced Yemen to the edge of famine.
The United Nations has been trying to rescue a ceasefire deal reached at peace discourse in December between the Houthis and the Saudi-backed government. That process has halted over who would take charge of Hodeidah, a Red Sea port that is very crucial for brining in aid that would be able to feed Yemen’s 30 million people.
Hodeidah is managed by the Houthis while other Yemeni forces supported by the Saudi-led coalition loyal to dethroned President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi are standing on the edges of the city.
Hadi’s top negotiator, Foreign Minister Khalid al-Yamani, stated that the initial Houthi redeployment must be confirmed before further breakthroughs can be made and humanitarian corridors are opened again.
A small team of U.N. observers reached Hodeidah after the truce went into effect on 18th December to observe troop redeployments by both sides. The accord urges local authorities to take up control of Hodeidah but did not detail the process, leaving it open to be interpreted.