Yemeni government source denies Houthis’ withdrawal from Hodeidah

Houthis began to pull back from the Red Sea port at midnight (2100 GMT Friday). (File photo: Reuters)

A Yemeni government source denied reports that the pro-Iranian Houthi militia had withdrawn from the port of Hodeidah.

The source said that: “During a meeting on Friday, Retired Dutch general Patrick Cammaert, the head of a United Nations advance team, handed over a memorandum to the parties requesting that the two sides provide, on Tuesday, January 1, 2019, perspectives on the ceasefire and redeployment mechanisms.”

The source added: “During the meeting, the government’s delegation told the Dutch general Cammaert that they reject any measures or unilateral actions, emphasizing that any decision must be made through formal means and by approval from the UN redeployment committee.”

The source confirmed that the Houthis’ statement on the redeployment in the port of Hodeidah is a clear attempt to maneuver around Sweden peace deal regarding the port which is not acceptable and is considered a violation that might lead to the deal’s failure.

Yemen’s government submits formal complaint to UN

The delegation of the Yemeni legitimate government submitted on Saturday a formal complaint to the United Nations on the announcement of handing over Hodeidah port.

For his part, the head of the UN team acknowledged that Houthis did not hand over the Hodeidah port.

Earlier, Al Arabiya's correspondent reported that the Yemeni government has not received any notification about the withdrawal of the Houthis from the port of Hodeidah.

The correspondent confirmed that the legitimacy observed redeployment and repositioning of the Houthi militias in the province.

As per the Sweden peace deal the Houthis must withdraw from the port and handover control to local units of Yemeni coast guards who were in charge of protecting ports before the war. These will be under UN supervision, according to Reuters.

The Houthis’ withdrawal from the three ports of Hodeidah, Salif and Rass Issa is intended to be the first step in the implementation of the agreement.

The agreement, the first significant breakthrough in peace efforts in five years, was part of confidence-building measures intended to pave the way for a wider truce and a framework for political negotiations.

Hodeidah port is considered the entry point for most of Yemen’s commercial goods and aid supplies, and a lifeline for millions of Yemenis.

The truce came into force on December 18.

Earlier, the United Nations team - tasked with monitoring the ceasefire between the Houthis and the legitimate government - announced that the Houthis started withdrawing from the port of Hodeidah, under the Sweden peace deal, a UN official said Saturday.

The official, who requested anonymity, said that the Houthis began to pull back from the Red Sea port at midnight Friday. (2100 GMT Friday)

On Friday, al-Hadath news channel’s correspondent reported that an agreement was reached to open the eastern road (known as Kilo 16) which links Sanaa with the port city of Hodeidah and Taiz on Saturday.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:54 - GMT 06:54