UN official monitoring cease-fire arrives in Yemeni rebel-held capital

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-27 01:12:19|Editor: xuxin
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SANAA, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- The head of a UN team monitoring the UN-backed cease-fire in Yemen's Hodeidah arrives on Saturday in the rebel-held capital Sanaa to resume his mission, Houthi-controlled Saba news agency reported.

Patrick Cammaert, a retired Dutch general, leads a joint committee from both Yemeni rival forces, namely the Saudi-backed government and the Iranian-allied Houthi rebels, overseeing the implementation of the cease-fire in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah.

Cammaert returned to Yemen after a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, where he was accompanied by the United Nations Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths to meet the Yemeni government officials in Riyadh, including President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Under the peace deal, the withdrawal from the ports of Hodeidah, Salif and Ras Issa, as well as critical parts of the city associated with humanitarian facilities should be completed within two weeks after the cease-fire enters into force, while the full withdrawal should be completed within a maximum period of 21 days.

It came as the first confidence-rebuilding measure agreed by the Houthi rebels and the Yemeni government in the Stockholm-based peace talks last month.

The cease-fire deal went into force on Dec. 18 last year. However, both rival forces have blamed each other for violating the deal and have not fulfilled the withdrawal of forces.

Hodeidah port is the key lifeline and entrance of the majority of food imports and humanitarian aid to the impoverished, war-torn Arab country.

The UN has said the discussions have been stalled because of different interpretations of the Stockholm Agreement over who would control key points of Hodeidah during a partial cease-fire.

Last week, the convoy of Cammaert came under attack in Hodeidah and both Yemeni rival forces traded accusations of attacking the UN convoy.

Saudi Arabia has been leading an Arab military coalition that intervened in Yemen in 2015 to support the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after the Houthi rebels forced him into exile and seized much of the country's north, including Sanaa and Hodeidah.

The four-year war has killed more than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, displaced 3 million others and pushed the country to the brink of famine.