Security Council voices support for Yemen deal amid alleged violations

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-05 05:23:43|Editor: Yamei
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UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council on Monday reiterated its endorsement of the inner-Yemeni deal amid alleged violations by the country's warring parties.

The deal, reached by the government of Yemen and the Houthi rebels in December 2018, includes a ceasefire on the city and governorate of Hodeidah and the ports of Hodeidah, Salif and Ras Issa, an executive mechanism on prisoner exchange, and a statement of understanding on Taiz, a contested city.

In a press statement, the members of the council stressed the "critical importance of the parties fulfilling the commitments," which were made in the Swedish capital of Stockholm under the auspices of the United Nations, "for the sake of the Yemeni people."

The conflict in Yemen started in 2014 when the Houthi rebels overtook the capital Sana'a and forced the government to 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.

After the breakthrough in Stockholm, the council members on Monday stressed the importance of making progress toward a political agreement to end the Yemeni conflict and to relieve the humanitarian suffering of the Yemeni people.

In this regard, the council welcomed the ceasefire in Hodeidah remains in place and commended the parties' continued political commitment to uphold the Stockholm agreement.

The United Nations and some coalition members differ sharply over the assessment of the ceasefire.

While the outgoing head of the UN operation monitoring the ceasefire Patrick Cammaert had said publicly that the ceasefire was generally holding, according to UN chief's spokesman Stephane Dujarric, ambassadors of Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have reportedly told the Security Council about some 970 Houthi violations between Dec. 18 and Jan. 29.

In Monday's statement, the council members expressed concern at "allegations of violations of the ceasefire," condemning "actions that jeopardize the progress achieved by the parties in the Stockholm agreement."

They called on the parties to seize this opportunity to move toward sustainable peace by exercising restraint, de-escalating tensions, honoring their commitment to the Stockholm deal and moving forward with swift implementation.

They welcomed, in this regard, the release of prisoners by both of the Yemeni parties as an "encouraging signal."

As an immediate next step, the council members called on the parties to implement an agreed plan for the mutual redeployment of forces from the city of Hodeidah and the ports of Hodeidah, Salif and Ras Issa.