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Crucial Week ahead for Redeployment Committee in Yemen’s Hodeidah

Crucial Week ahead for Redeployment Committee in Yemen’s Hodeidah

Monday, 1 April, 2019 - 06:15
Major General Michael Lollesgaard, the head of the UN observer mission in Yemen. (AFP)

The Yemeni government team in the Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) in Hodeidah agreed on Saturday on the plan proposed by head of the committee, Lieutenant-General Michael Lollesgaard, concerning the first phase of redeployment in the ports of al-Salif and Ras Issa, government sources told Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday.

“The meeting between the government team and Lollesgaard was positive, while another gathering is expected Tuesday to decide on all remaining issues of the plan. The implementation should then start after Houthi militias withdraw from the two ports, within one week after the plan’s final approval,” the sources said.

Under the UN plan, the Iran-backed militias should pull back five kilometers from the ports, while legitimate forces should withdraw one kilometer from the city’s “Kilo 7” eastern suburb.

A team of observers from the United Nations, government and Houthis from the RCC would then help verify the pullout and oversee the demining operation.

Field sources form the Yemeni army warned on Sunday from an expected Houthi deception and said the militias might reject the UN plan at the last minute.

Col. Waddah Aldbish, a spokesman for the Saudi-led Arab coalition, said that although the joint forces extend their hand in peace, they are prepared to wage a military battle should the UN plan again be obstructed.

“Tuesday’s meeting should place the final touches on implementing the first phase of the plan stipulating the militias’ withdrawal from the ports of Salif and Ras Issa,” he added in a statement posted on his Facebook account.

Information ministry undersecretary Najib Ghallab told Asahrq Al-Awsat that the prolongation of war in Yemen became a short-term tactic to deplete the Arab coalition.

“It is clear that UN bureaucracy thrives on crises… One cannot understand the legitimization of an extremist movement that operates as an Iranian pawn against the Yemeni state and Arab national security,” he said, adding that the UN was offering the Houthis a chance to impede the political solution in the country.

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