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Yemen FM to Asharq Al-Awsat: Houthis Must Withdraw from Hodeidah in 4 Days

Yemen FM to Asharq Al-Awsat: Houthis Must Withdraw from Hodeidah in 4 Days

Monday, 17 December, 2018 - 07:00
Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani. (AFP)

The United Nations-brokered agreement on Yemen’s coastal Hodeidah province, which was reached in Sweden last week, will go into effect on Tuesday amid high hopes among the people that peace could be restored in the region.

Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani told Asharq Al-Awsat that the agreement stipulates that the Iran-backed Houthi militias must withdraw from Hodeidah and al-Salif ports within four days of its implementation.

“While the Hodeidah agreement states an immediate start of the ceasefire, it is normal that it takes 48-72 hours to be communicated at the operational level,” a UN source said according to Reuters. “We expect the ceasefire to be implemented starting Tuesday.”

UN special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths had said that international monitors will be deployed in Hodeidah and armed groups will withdraw from the region within 21 days.

The envoy “expects the two parties to respect their obligations as per the text and the spirit of the Stockholm Agreement, and to engage in the immediate implementation of its provisions,” Griffiths said in a tweet.

The UN is working closely with the legitimate government and Houthis “to ensure that the provisions of the Hodeidah Agreement are implemented timely and properly,” he added.

Yamani said that UN officials will monitor the redeployment of forces in Hodeidah after the Houthi withdrawal.

“The Houthis will withdraw completely from the city during the next 20 days. Our forces will redeploy to the southern and eastern city border,” he added.

A UN-chaired Redeployment Coordination Committee including both sides would oversee implementation. The committee is expected to start its work this week, the UN source said.

The next round of talks between the government and Houthis is expected to be held in January.

Yamani said that the concerned parties should only be invited to the consultations after all articles of the Stockholm deal are implemented.

This includes the release of abductees and prisoners and withdrawal from Hodeidah and reinstatement of legitimate agencies there.

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