The United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths said on Monday that the warring parties in Yemen have agreed to a detailed plan for a redeployment of forces in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah.
“Both parties have now accepted the detailed redeployment plan for phase one,” Griffiths told the UN Security Council via video link from Amman, adding that “it has taken longer than we hoped, but we are grateful that it has happened at all.”
He said he had received assurances from the leader of Ansarullah, Sayyed Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi when they met in Sana’a last week that Yemeni Army and Popular Committees would support the deal.
“Let us be clear that when, and I hope it is when and not if, these redeployments happen, they will be the first voluntary withdrawal of forces in this long conflict,” Griffiths said.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the UN official said he was laying the groundwork for broader negotiations on ending the deadly campaign led by the regime in Riyadh against Yemen. “We all need to see tangible progress in Hudaydah before moving to focus on the political solution.”
The redeployment of forces was agreed in December last year under a ceasefire deal reached in Stockholm of Sweden. The UN announced a deal on a two-stage pullback from Hudaydah and its ports on February 17, but the redeployment failed to materialize on the ground.
The Yemeni Army and Committees have repeatedly complained that the US-Saud aggression and their mercenaries have been violating the ceasefire.
When he last addressed the Security Council members in consultations on March 13, Griffiths said that if the impasse continued, he might organize a “political” meeting of the Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC), which would include General Michael Lollesgaard of RCC and RCC representatives, the special envoy and the political leaders of the two warring sides.
The US-Saudi aggression in Yemen is now in its fifth year and has had a devastating impact on Yemen’s economy and caused the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. In June 2018, the US-Saudi aggression launched the Hodeidah offensive but have been facing strong resistance from Yemeni armed forces as well as the city’s residents.
Efforts to crush Yemeni Houthis and reinstate Riyadh ally and former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi have so far failed, forcing Saudi Arabia to push for peace with the Yemeni resistance movement and its allies in the army.