Yemen's government and the Iran-backed Houthis (Ansarallah) have accepted a detailed plan for a much-delayed pullback from the flashpoint city of al-Hodeidah, the UN envoy said Monday (April 15th), but no timetable was announced for the withdrawals.
The redeployment of forces was agreed in December under a ceasefire deal reached in Sweden that offered the best hope in years of moving toward an end to the war that has pushed Yemen to the brink of famine, AFP reported.
UN envoy Martin Griffiths told the Security Council that "both parties have now accepted a detailed redeployment plan" for the first stage of the pullback from al-Hodeidah.
Griffiths said he received assurances from Houthi leader Abdul Malik al Houthi when they met in Sanaa last week that his forces would support the al-Hodeidah agreement, but the envoy sounded a note of caution after so many delays.
"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," he said by videoconference from Amman.
The UN announced a deal on the two-stage pullback from al-Hodeidah city and its ports in February, but the redeployment failed to materialise on the ground and the peace effort has since stalled.
"The Yemeni government has demonstrated a clear commitment to the UN led process," acting US Ambassador Jonathan Cohen told the Security Council.
"It is time for the Houthis to also show the international community that they too are serious about the UN process and the agreements that they themselves reached in Stockholm," he said.