UN Security Council in talks on saving Yemen truce deal

The UN Security Council met behind closed doors on Wednesday (March 13th) to try to salvage a stalled truce deal in Yemen seen as crucial to diplomatic efforts to end the devastating war, AFP reported.

Yemen's government and its Saudi and Emirati allies agreed in talks with the Iran-backed Houthis (Ansarallah) nearly a month ago to redeploy their forces from the flashpoint city of al-Hodeidah, but nothing has happened on the ground.

UN envoy Martin Griffiths told the council that he was "still working with the parties to make the redeployment in al-Hodeidah a reality," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

Details of a two-stage pullback from al-Hodeidah city and its ports were finalized during a meeting between the government and the Houthis on February 17th, marking the first concrete step toward de-escalation.

UN diplomats said the Houthis were refusing to pull away from the ports of Saleef and Ras Issa as part of the first stage, citing fears that forces linked to the Arab coalition will move in to take over those facilities.

"It is clear that one party has more problems than the other at the moment, but this tends to swing around," British Ambassador Karen Pierce told reporters after the meeting.

Gen. Michael Lollesgaard, who also briefed the council as head of a newly-created UN mission to monitor the redeployment from al-Hodeidah, will hold meetings in the coming days to push for action on the ground, diplomats said.

The Security Council will meet again on Tuesday to take stock and consider a tougher stance if no progress is made.

"If there isn't progress and if Stockholm does collapse, the Security Council will need to think about further measures and that is a very big step," Pierce said in an interview to Al-Arabiya television.

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