TEHRAN (Press Shia) – A UN mission monitoring a peace deal between warring parties in Yemen’s Hudaydah region said Houthi Ansarullah movement has fully honored a ceasefire deal in the port city, saying that it had not detected any Houthi military forces in three key ports in the Arab country.
The movement’s unilateral pullout from the ports, used for grain, oil, commerce and aid, was the most significant advance yet for efforts to end the four-year-old Saudi war on Yemen.
In December, the Houthis and the ex-government in met in Sweden and agreed to a ceasefire and troop withdrawal deal for Hudaydah. Under phase one, the Houthis pulled out of the Red Sea ports of Hudaydah, Saleef and Ras Isa last month.
Lieutenant General Michael Lollesgaard, who heads the UN monitoring mission in Hudaydah, said in a statement that regular UN patrols had not detected a Houthi military presence in the three ports since May 14, Reuters reported.
He said coast guard forces were providing port security, but the United Nations could not yet confirm if the coast guard was operating at the agreed strength of 450.
Lollesgaard said Houthi military installations and equipment had been removed from Saleef and Ras Isa, but largely remained in Hudaydah. He called on the Houthis to “expeditiously complete the removal of all military manifestations, including trenches as part of their commitment to the process.”
Hudaydah is Yemen’s main port and a lifeline for millions of Yemenis on the brink of starvation, a situation exacerbated by restricted imports of food and other supplies due to the war.
The Houthi withdrawal from the ports is due to be met by a retreat of Saudi-led coalition forces from the eastern outskirts of Hudaydah, facilitating humanitarian access to grain stores at the Red Sea Mills.
Lollesgaard said last month that a phase one withdrawal by ex-government and coalition forces would not take place until the warring parties had worked out details for a broader phase two redeployment around Hudaydah and agreed on local forces to secure the area.
He called on all parties on Wednesday to finalize negotiations to allow for the full implementation of phases one and two of the Hudaydah deal.