Yemen’s Warring Groups Concede on First Phase of Hodeidah Pullout in Halted Peace Discussions

February 19, 2019

Yemen’s conflicting groups have acceded to undertake the first step of withdrawal from the strategic city of Hodeidah, likely breaking the stalemate in discussions that paralyzed a truce deal and also the flow of foreign aid into the nation.
The UN stated that the progress was brought about during two days of talks in the war-torn port city, which is considered as Yemen’s main entry point for food and aid. However, Yemen’s main port city became the frontline of the deadly four-year civil war that killed over thousands and hundreds of people.

Yemen’s government as well as the Iran-supported Houthi militia had originally vowed in December to a prisoner swap and ceasefire, which would see both sides withdrawing from the city.

However, the plan was never executed and dropped into skirmishes as both sides blamed each other of breaching the deal, inhibiting vital aid to around 10 million people who are on the verge of starvation across the nation.

On Monday,
The UN statement stated that both sides had made significant advancement on planning for the re-stationing of forces as forecasted in the Hodeida pact. As per the statement, the conflicting factions had reached a pact on ‘phase one’ of the mutual re-stationing of forces without giving much details.

Under Phase one, the Houthis would pullout from the ports of Hodeidah, Saleef and Ras Isa. In return, government forces would also pullout their forces from the eastern periphery of the city.

A UN source told reporters that phase one would also observe the two sides admit to renew main roads that link Hodeidah to the Houthi-held capital Sanaa and Yemen’s third city of Taiz.
They also agreed to allow approach to the Red Sea mills, which holds around 50,000 tonnes of World Food Programme grain, enough to feed 3.7 million people for a month. Approach to the site has been reduced since September due to the battle.
Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies started a bombing crusade to reestablish their ally; however, four years into the battle shows little sign of dwindling.

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