Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres called for the deployment of up to 75 UN observers in Hodeidah for six months to monitor the ceasefire.
This comes before Martin Griffiths, the UN’s envoy to Yemen, is set to present an updated report on the situation in Yemen before the Security Council.
Following week-long talks in Sweden last month sponsored by the UN, Iran-backed Houthi militias and the Yemeni government had come to an agreement on the port city of Hodeidah, which serves as a very important entry point for most commercial goods and aid supplies in Yemen.
At the end of last month, the Security Council requested that Guterres recommend a larger observer team. Diplomats said that member states had not yet approved Guterres’s request.
In Guterres’s proposal to the council on December 31, the secretary-general described the 75 observer team as a “light presence” to monitor adherence to the agreement of the ceasefire, and to assess conditions on the ground.
“There will also be a need for adequate resources and assets to ensure the safety and security of the UN personnel, including armed vehicles, a communications infrastructure, aircrafts and adequate medical support.”
He pointed out that a larger observer team would contribute to the support of the fragile political situation. Also, Griffiths is trying to arrange another round of talks between the warring parties this month.
Griffiths before the Security Council
Griffiths and Mark Lowcock, the United Nations relief coordinator, are due to report to the Security Council on the situation in Yemen on Wednesday.
Earlier on Tuesday, Griffiths met with the Yemeni president, and stressed that the international community is closely monitoring the situation in Hodeidah and the steps needed to implement the terms of the Swedish agreement.
He pointed out that this is what was discussed with the Houthis and the importance of meeting these commitments, despite the fact that we exceeded the chronic deadlines.
He also confirmed his ongoing endeavors in this regard, with the assistance of the field team on the implementation of the terms of the Swedish agreement.
Meanwhile, Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi said that the agreements have not been met by the Houthi militias, except with arrogance and rebellion. He pointed out their lack of commitment to what had been agreed upon with regard to prisoners, detainees, and impeding the passage of humanitarian relief.