Monitoring Desk (The National): A UN mission supervising a ceasefire in Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah arrived in Aden on Saturday to meet Yemeni government officials before a scheduled trip the rebel-held capital of Sanaa, said Waleed Al Qudaimi, the deputy governor of Hodeidah, told The National.
Led by Patrick Cammaert, a retired Dutch general, the team will travel to the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah after their stop in Sanaa and meet Houthi officials, Colonel Wathah Al Dubaish, a spokesperson for the pro-government Al Amalikah forces said.
The UN mission is due to secure the functioning of Hodeidah’s port as well as supervise the withdrawal of fighters from the city.
Pro-government forces are expected to withdraw to the southern flanks of Hodeidah, while Houthi rebels withdraw to areas in the north, following the deployment of UN monitors, a source in the Yemeni army told The National.
Another source with the Al Amalikah brigade told The National that pro-government forces stationed on the front-lines in Hodeidah have received orders from central command on Friday to withdraw to the southern outskirts of the city.
“We have withdrawn our forces from positions in the city to the southern area of Al Duraihmi,” the source said. “At the moment forces affiliated with the National Resistance led by Major Tariq Saleh are still deployed in their positions in the city and they are supposed to withdraw to the southern areas too in the next few days ” he added.
Residents in Hodeidah said on Saturday that the area has been calm since Friday evening.
One resident said that Houthi rebels were still stationed across Hodeidah, and could be seen wearing the uniforms of official security forces.
Mr Cammaert on Saturday was welcomed on arrival by Saghir bin Aziz, a general who heads the government team tasked with organising the withdrawal of troops from Hodeidah.
He also met with Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik and the governor of Hodiedah Hassan Taher, Mr Al Dubaish said.
The UN team was on Friday given an initial period of 30 days to monitor a ceasefire between government forces and Houthi rebelsin Hodeidah and surrounding areas, with any breaches to be reported by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to the Security Council.
The mandate came in a resolution unanimously adopted by the 15-member council, one week after Martin Griffiths, the UN Special Envoy to Yemen, said there was an urgent need that the truce be verified on the ground.
The adopted resolution authorises the Secretary-General to establish and deploy an advance team to begin monitoring the ceasefire and to implement the Stockholm Agreement that came out of UN-brokered peace talks between the Houthis and Yemen’s internationally-recognised government in Sweden last week. Mr Guterres will report to the Council on a weekly basis regarding the ceasefire and the situation in Yemen.
The resolution was greeted with support from the UAE and Saudi Arabia, the main powers in the Arab-led coalition that backs Yemen’s government.
The UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash said on Twitter that the resolution “sends a strong message & forms an important step towards a lasting political solution.”
He said the Security Council’s decision “will help ensure the ceasefire & redeployment are upheld.”
Khalid Manzalawi, Saudi Arabia’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, said the resolution “confirms Saudi diplomatic efforts and their direct impact on the international community’s decision,” according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).