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.


Disney World to reopen as coronavirus cases surge in Florida

Updated 12 min 11 sec ago

Disney World to reopen as coronavirus cases surge in Florida

  • The reopening comes as a huge surge of Floridians have tested positive for the new coronavirus in recent weeks
  • All of Disney’s Orlando parks closed in mid-March in an effort to stop the virus’s spread
ORLANDO, Florida: “The Most Magical Place on Earth” is reopening after nearly four months with new rules in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are reopening Saturday, while Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will follow four days later.
The reopening comes as a huge surge of Floridians have tested positive for the new coronavirus in recent weeks. Many cities and counties around the state have recently reinstated restrictions that had been lifted in May, when cases seemed to drop.
All of Disney’s Orlando parks closed in mid-March in an effort to stop the virus’s spread. Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando closed around the same time but reopened several weeks ago after instituting similar rules to protect employees and customers from the virus.
Disney’s new rules include mandatory masks and social distancing. Visitors will need reservations to enter a park, and they won’t be allowed to hop between parks. Both visitors and employees will receive temperature checks when they enter. Fireworks shows and parades have been suspended to prevent drawing too many people together.
Disney has been opening its parks back up around the globe for the past two months. In May, the company opened Disney Springs, a complex of shops, restaurants and entertainment venues in Lake Buena Vista.