Advance UN truce monitors arrive in Yemen’s Hodeidah

Retired Dutch general Patrick Cammaert in Aden. (File/AFP)
Updated 24 December 2018

Advance UN truce monitors arrive in Yemen’s Hodeidah

  • Retired Dutch general Patrick Cammaert is heading a joint committee including members of the government and the Houthi rebels
  • He stopped in Sanaa before he arrived in Hodeidah

UNITED NATIONS: A UN advance team arrived in Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah on Sunday to start monitoring a cease-fire and withdrawal of forces agreed by the Iranian-aligned Houthi group and Saudi-backed government forces, the United Nations said.

The warring parties in Yemen’s nearly four-year war reached the deal at UN-sponsored peace talks in Sweden earlier this month. The truce began on Tuesday but skirmishes continued on the outskirts of the city.

The UN Security Council on Friday unanimously approved the deployment — for an initial 30 days — of an advance monitoring team led by retired Dutch General Patrick Cammaert. He is chair of a Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) that includes representatives from both sides of the conflict.

“General Cammaert is encouraged by the general enthusiasm of both sides to get to work, immediately. One of the priorities in the coming days will be the organization of the first joint RCC meeting, which is projected for 26 December,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

Cammaert’s team, which the United Nations has said will not be uniformed or armed, will oversee the truce and troop withdrawal from Hodeidah city and three ports.

The United Nations will also provide support for the management of and inspections at the ports of Hodeidah, Salif and Ras Issa; and strengthen its presence in the war-torn region.

Hodeidah, the main port used to feed Yemen’s 30 million people, has been the focus of fighting this year, raising fears abroad that a full-scale assault could cut off supplies to nearly 16 million people suffering from severe hunger.

The deal reached in Sweden is meant to pave the way for a wider cease-fire in the impoverished country and a second round of talks in January on a framework for political negotiations.

A Sunni Muslim Arab alliance led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates entered the war in 2015 against the Houthis to restore the internationally recognized government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, which was ousted from the capital Sanaa.

The Houthis control most urban centers, including Sanaa, while Hadi’s government is based in the southern port of Aden.

Houthis threaten global energy security: Arab coalition

Updated 5 min 16 sec ago

Houthis threaten global energy security: Arab coalition

  • The Arab coalition denounced Saturday's attack on a Saudi Aramco gas plant
  • The Yemeni militant attack sparked a fire but caused no casualties or disruption to production

RIYADH: The Arab coalition fighting to restore the internationally recognized government in Yemen on Monday denounced a Houthi attack on a Saudi Aramco gas plant in Saudi Arabia.
The militants claimed 10 drones struck the Shaybah natural gas liquefaction plant near the border with the UAE on Saturday.
“The Houthi militia have endangered global energy security by targeting Shaybah oil field in Saudi Arabia,” spokesperson Col. Turki Al-Maliki said.
The militants, who are based in Yemen and backed by Iran, have used drones laden with explosives to target infrastructure in the Kingdom.
Speaking at a weekly press conference in Riyadh, Col. Al-Maliki said the that Houthi and Daesh militias are conducting simultaneous operations in Yemen, stressing that the Houthis, who sparked the Yemen war in 2014, continue to pose a clear threat in the southern Red Sea.
The coalition, which includes Saudi Arabia and the UAE, intervened in the Yemen conflict in 2015 to support forces loyal to the internationally recognized government after it was driven from the capital Sanaa by the Houthis.