Yemen's warring factions meet on ship to discuss peace efforts

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-03 22:57:46|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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ADEN, Yemen, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- Representatives from Yemen's warring factions started talks aboard ship to discuss peace efforts in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah on Sunday, a government official told Xinhua.

The government source, who asked to remain anonymous, said that representatives of the Saudi-backed government and the Houthi rebels at the Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) attended a meeting with presence of General Patrick Cammaert, the UN cease-fire chief monitor aboard a ship in Hodeidah province.

He said that key topics were discussed during the meeting including reopening main roads for humanitarian purposes and the reducing cease-fire violations as well as withdrawing Houthi rebels from the Hodeidah's ports.

Previous meetings were convened in Houthi-controlled city of Hodeidah but due to the tense security situation General Cammaert proposed holding a meeting aboard a ship in order to avoid gunfire attacks, according to local sources.

On Saturday, Yemen's government blamed the Houthi rebels of committing persistent and deliberate violations to Sweden's agreement on Hodeidah.

In a statement revealed by the state-run Saba news agency, the government said that until now, 970 Houthi cease-fire breaches have occurred in Hodeidah, killing 71 people and wounding 534 in 30 days.

The conflict in Yemen started in 2014 when the Houthi rebels overtook the capital Sanaa and forced the government into exile to Saudi Arabia. Since 2015, a Saudi-led coalition, backing the government, has been fighting the Houthis.

The security situation was further exacerbated after the coalition in June 2018 launched an operation to retake rebel-held Hodeidah, a strategic port city that had been handling some 70 percent of Yemen's imports of food.

The fighting has spawned the world's worst humanitarian crisis and brought the poorest Arab country to the brink of famine.

Under the UN auspices, the warring parties reached a deal in Sweden in December 2018, which included a governorate-wide cease-fire of Hodeidah and the formation of the RCC to monitor withdrawal of troops by both the government and the Houthis in the area.

Shortly after, the UN Security Council authorized an advance team for 30 days to monitor and support the implementation of the deal.

Earlier in January, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution to establish a UN political mission for an initial period of six months to support the Hodeidah agreement.