UN confirms Hodeidah truce is holding

The UN has been monitoring the Houthi pullout from Hodeidah. (File/AFP)
Updated 15 May 2019

UN confirms Hodeidah truce is holding

  • “There is still a lot of work to be done … but cooperation has been very good," says head of the UN observer team

HODEIDAH: The Houthis in Yemen have handed over security of key Red Sea ports to the coast guard but work remains to remove military equipment, the UN said on Tuesday.

The Iran-backed militia’s withdrawal is part of a hard-won truce agreement in Sweden in December between the Houthis and the legitimate government, supported by a Saudi-led coalition.

The UN has been monitoring the Houthi pullout from Hodeidah, Saleef and Ras Isa ports and a UN team was there on Tuesday to verify the redeployment. 

Its head, Gen. Michael Lollesgaard, welcomed the handover “of the security of the ports to the coast guard,” the UN said. 

“There is still a lot of work to be done … but cooperation has been very good.

“UN teams will continue to monitor these initial steps in an impartial and transparent manner.”

Hodeidah port is a lifeline for the import of food, medicines and other vital humanitarian supplies for millions in Yemen, but the Houthis also use it to smuggle arms and ammunition from Iran.

UAE says joint probe into tanker attack ensures impartiality

Updated 31 min 51 sec ago

UAE says joint probe into tanker attack ensures impartiality

  • UAE says international participation in an investigation into ‘sabotage attacks’ on oil tankers will lead to ‘impartial conclusions’
  • It also indicated the results may take time

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates said on Wednesday that the participation of several countries in an investigation into last week’s attack on oil tankers off its coast would support the “impartiality and transparency” of the findings.
The Gulf Arab state has not yet blamed anyone for the acts of sabotage on four vessels including two Saudi oil tankers, but a senior UAE official has said Abu Dhabi was concerned about Iranian behavior in the region.
“The keenness of our international partners to participate in the investigation and the concerted efforts support the impartiality and transparency in arriving at results,” the UAE foreign ministry said in a statement carried on state news agency WAM.
US government sources told Reuters they believe Iran encouraged Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia or Iraq-based militias to carry out the operation.
Tehran has distanced itself from the attack, which comes as Iran and the United States spar over sanctions and the US military presence in the Gulf region.
The UAE foreign ministry statement welcomed the participation of several “friendly and brotherly” countries in the investigation, but did not name them. It did not give a timeframe, saying the probe would take “the time required.”
UAE officials have said that the United States and France, which has a naval base in Abu Dhabi, were participating in the investigation as well as Saudi Arabia and Norway.
A Norwegian-registered oil products tanker and a UAE fuel bunker barge were among the vessels hit near Fujairah emirate, one of the world’s largest bunkering hubs located just outside the Strait of Hormuz.
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash has said Abu Dhabi would show restraint after the attack and that it was committed to de-escalation during what he described as a “difficult situation” caused by Iranian behavior in the region.
Saudi Arabia has called for emergency Gulf and Arab summits in Makkah on May 30 to discuss the implications of the tanker attack and an armed drone strike two days later on Saudi oil installations in the Kingdom, for which the Houthis have claimed responsibility.