UN envoy on first visit to Yemeni port city of Hodeidah after truce

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The UN envoy for Yemen briefly visited the flashpoint city of Hodeidah Tuesday, an official said, the diplomat’s first trip there since warring parties agreed to a ceasefire last month.

Martin Griffiths was in the Red Sea port city “for a few hours” to oversee the truce deal’s implementation and “follow up on preparations” for a new monitoring mission, the UN official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Yemen’s government and Houthi militias reached a deal over Hodeidah at peace talks brokered by Griffiths in Sweden last month.

The agreement stipulates a full ceasefire, followed by the withdrawal of rival forces from the city – two clauses that have yet to be fulfilled.

The United Nations Security Council this month unanimously adopted Resolution 2452, which calls for the deployment of up to 75 monitors to oversee the fragile ceasefire and pullback of forces from Hodeidah.

Hodeidah was for months the main front line in the Yemen war after pro-government forces, backed by an Arab coalition, launched an offensive to capture it in June.

But since the ceasefire agreement came into force on December 18, a precarious calm has returned to the city, despite each side accusing the other of violations.

Griffiths said Monday that the deal’s timeline had also been extended.

“That momentum is still there, even if we have seen the timelines for implementation extended, both in Hodeidah and with regard to the prisoner exchange agreement,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.

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