Troop withdrawal in Yemen's Hodeidah could start Tuesday, Wednesday: UN envoy Griffiths

 A redeployment of forces in Yemen's Hodeidah by the warring parties could start "possibly even today or tomorrow," UN Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths told the Security Council on Tuesday. (AP/File Photo)
Updated 19 February 2019
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Troop withdrawal in Yemen's Hodeidah could start Tuesday, Wednesday: UN envoy Griffiths

  • The Iranian-backed Houthi movement and Arab coalition agreed in talks in December to withdraw troops by Jan. 7
  • The UN said on Sunday that the parties had reached agreement on phase one of a troop redeployment

LONDON: A redeployment of forces in Yemen's Hodeidah by the warring parties could start "possibly even today or tomorrow," United Nations Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday.

The Iran-aligned Houthi movement and the Saudi-backed government agreed at talks in Sweden in December to withdraw troops by Jan. 7 from the Red Sea city under a truce aimed at averting a full-scale assault on the port and paving the way for negotiations to end the four-year war.

But the pact stalled over control of Hodeidah, a lifeline for millions facing famine. After weeks of diplomacy, the United Nations said on Sunday the parties had reached agreement on phase one of a troop redeployment.

"With the beginning, possibly even today or tomorrow, of the implementation of that part of the Hodeidah agreement we now have the opportunity to move from the promise made in Sweden to hope now for Yemen," Griffiths told the 15-member council.

Griffiths said phase one of the redeployment of forces would "facilitate humanitarian access to the Red Sea Mills."

The World Food Programme grain stores at the Red Sea Mills are enough to feed 3.7 million people for a month and have been inaccessible for more than five months.

Griffiths urged the parties to agree on the details of the second phase of troop withdrawals, which entails full redeployment of both parties' forces in Hodeidah province.


Hundreds of Algerian lawyers protest against Bouteflika

Updated 24 min 16 sec ago
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Hundreds of Algerian lawyers protest against Bouteflika

  • They gathered in Algiers’ center, the scene of mass protests for one month
  • Algerians first took to the streets a month ago to protest against Bouteflika’s plan to seek a fifth mandate

ALGIERS: Hundreds of Algerian lawyers protested again on Saturday in the capital to demand the immediate resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika who has been for 20 years in power.
They gathered in Algiers’ center, the scene of mass protests for one month, holding up slogans that read: “Respect the will of the people” and “Yes to a judiciary free from corrupt dignitaries.”
Algerians first took to the streets a month ago to protest against Bouteflika’s plan to seek a fifth mandate.
The 82-year old, who has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013, bowed to the protesters last week by reversing plans to seek re-election.
But he stopped short of quitting as head of state and said he would stay on until a new constitution is adopted. The move further enraged Algerians, and many of Bouteflika’s allies have turned against him.
Some members of the ruling National Liberation Front party, known by its French acronym FLN, have also sided with the demonstrators.
The powerful military has been watching the protests unfold.
The generals have intervened in the past at momentous times, including canceling an election which Islamists were poised to win in 1992, triggering a civil war in which an estimated 200,000 people were killed.
On Friday, hundreds of thousands protested across the North African country.