Talks between the warring parties during the withdrawal of the Houthis from Hodeidah

May 14, 2019

Yemeni officials have said the warring parties in Yemen began new UN-sponsored talks in Jordan on Monday, two days after Huthi forces began withdrawing from the ports of Hodeidah to break a six-month freeze.

The talks will focus on sharing the revenues of the three ports of Hodeidah on the Red Sea to help ease the humanitarian crisis, officials said.

The Iranian-backed Houthi movement on Saturday began a unilateral withdrawal from the Salif, Ras Issa and Hodeidah ports, controlled by UN-supervised local forces under a deal reached with the Saudi-backed government in December but stalled for months.

“The United Nations and its envoy are sponsoring talks in Amman … to discuss the issue of salaries and ways to neutralize the economic situation,” said Mohamed Ali al-Houthi, head of the Supreme Revolutionary Committee of the Houthis on Twitter.

A Yemeni government official told Reuters that the talks were being held, and a UN official said that Martin Griffith facilitated the meeting.

Hodeidah is the main entry point for most of Yemen’s trade and aid imports and has become the focus of the four-year-old conflict when the Saudi-led coalition twice tried to wrest control of the port to cut the main supply line for the Houthis.

The Stockholm agreement provides for a truce and the withdrawal of forces from both sides of Hodeidah and the collection of port revenues at the central bank branch in Hodeidah to help pay the salaries of government employees.

The war destroyed the Yemeni economy increasing the humanitarian crisis and pushing millions to the brink of starvation.

Many Yemenis are unable to buy basic commodities due to high prices and the central bank finds it difficult to pay public sector salaries as foreign exchange reserves evaporate.

The United Nations will assist in the management of Hodeidah ports, which will be under the management of the Yemen Red Sea Ports Corporation and assist in the inspection of ships.

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