Yemen Agreement Should Be Implemented without Delay, Says UNSC

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has called on warring parties in Yemen to withdraw from the embattled port city of Hudaydah “as soon as possible” in line with a ceasefire deal reached in December 2018, according to Press T.V.

In a statement on Wednesday, the council expressed “grave concern” that the UN-brokered deal reached between Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement and the country’s former Saudi-backed regime in Sweden has yet to be implemented, urging the parties to conflict to act on their commitments “without delay.”

The council said it will monitor the compliance of all sides with the “redeployment plans” agreed in the deal as it awaits a report by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on whether they are upholding their commitments.

The council members welcomed Monday’s announcement by UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths that said fighters of Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement and militants loyal to the ex-Yemeni government had agreed to a detailed plan for the initial withdrawal of forces from Hudaydah.

The statement urged the warring sides to engage with Griffiths and the head of the UN operation monitoring the withdrawals “to swiftly agree on local security force arrangements” and on the second phase of the redeployment.

It also called on the parties “to redouble efforts” to finalize arrangements for a prisoner exchange and to establish a coordinating committee in southwestern city of Ta’izz, as called for in the Stockholm agreements.

The council further reiterated its concern about “the continued deterioration of the humanitarian situation across Yemen.”

The Houthis have repeatedly complained that the Saudi-led coalition has been violating the ceasefire. UN diplomats earlier said the Houthis refused to pull away from Hudaydah ports as part of the first stage, citing fears that forces linked to the Saudis will move in to take over facilities there.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates launched the Hudaydah offensive in June 2018 but have been facing strong resistance from Yemeni armed forces, led by the Houthis, as well as the city’s residents.

Hudaydah, a lifeline for millions of Yemenis, has seen some of the heaviest fighting in the Saudi-led war, which Riyadh began in 2015.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the Houthi Ansarullah movement.

According to a report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi-led war has so far claimed the lives of about 56,000 Yemenis.