Sweden pact on Yemen a win for Coalition, vindicates stand from 2015 at UN

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Yemen's government and Houthis agreed on Thursday to a ceasefire in the flashpoint port city of Hodeida, where the United Nations will now play a central role, the UN chief said.

A second round of peace talks on the Yemen conflict has been scheduled for the end of January, the UN chief said.

Following are the commitments and the time-frame of the initial agreement:

- The Houthi militias withdraw from the ports of Hodeidah, Salif and Ras Issa to the north of Sanaa road within 14 days of the agreement.

- The immediate redeployment of the government forces south of the line.

- Full withdrawal of the Houthi forces from the city of Hodeidah in the second phase to sites outside the northern city limits within the 21 days after the agreement.

- The security of Hodeidah and the ports of Hodeidah, Salih and Ras Issa are the responsibility of the security forces, in accordance with Yemeni law.

- The legal tracks of the Authority must be respected and any obstacles or impediments to the functioning of local institutions, including Houthi supervisors, should be eliminated.

- The deal includes also the Houthi withdrawal from Taiz and the release of thousands of prisoners.

These commitments are in line with the Arab coalition and the White House’s vision to the ongoing conflict as a proxy war launched by Iran, with Houthis, in power in Sanaa, would only be an instrument.

This is exactly the position on which Riyadh was and is standing, with a strong argument: Resolution 2216, adopted by the UN Security Council in April 2015.

That resolution “demands that the Houthis immediately and unconditionally , withdraw their forces from all areas they have taken control.”

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have suspended their current offensive against the port of Hodeida, vital for the supply of Houthist-held areas, only in view of the implementation of resolution 2216, with the withdrawal of pro-Iranian insurgents outside the capital.

The Sweden deal is a long-awaited success for the international community and the Arab coalition. The Saudi Crown Prince has emphasized during his most recent meeting with UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt that the British draft resolution on Yemen mention explicitly the Resolution 2216.

The international efforts on the Yemen crisis was led with London at the diplomatic forefront led by Martin Griffiths, the UN special envoy for Yemen - himself a former British diplomat.