Saudi, UAE, Yemen ask UN to pressure Houthis

Yemen's government and its allies Saudi Arabia and the UAE asked the UN Security Council on Thursday (January 31st) to turn up the pressure on the Houthis (Ansarallah) to uphold a ceasefire deal, AFP reported.

In a letter sent to the council, the three governments accused the Iran-backed Houthis of violating the ceasefire in the port city of al-Hodeidah 970 times since it came into force on December 18th.

They asked the council to "impress upon the Houthis, and their Iranian backers, that they will be held responsible if their continued failure to comply... leads to the collapse of the Stockholm agreement", said the letter seen by AFP.

Yemen's government and the Houthis agreed to the ceasefire and a redeployment of forces from al-Hodeidah during UN-brokered talks in Sweden last month.

But deadlines for the pullback of forces and a prisoner swap have slipped, fueling worries that the Stockholm agreement may be in jeopardy.

UAE minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday to discuss problems in implementing the Stockholm deal.

"We understand that we need to exercise patience, but it cannot be infinite," Gargash said after the meeting, raising concerns of a flareup on the ground, triggered by a Houthi provocation.

"We do not want to launch an offensive" in al-Hodeidah, said the minister.

"What we want is for the UN and the international community to exert influence and to do that work" and create pressure on the Houthis to comply with the ceasefire deal, he said.

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