Houthi forces have started to redeploy from the port of al-Hudaydah in western Yemen under the UN-sponsored agreement, which was reached in Sweden earlier this month, Mohamad Abd al-Salam, head of the Houthis delegation to the Yemen peace talks, announced on December 29.
Abd al-Salam said that the strategic port was handed over to the Yemeni Coast Guards under the supervision of the U.N. advance monitoring team. The team, which is led by retired Dutch General Patrick Cammaert, arrived in Yemen last week to observe the execution of the agreement.
“The advanced steps that have been accomplished prove the political leadership’s keenness to achieve security and stability and to support the peace process,” the al-Masirah TV quoted Abd al-Salam as saying.
A U.N. source confirmed to the Reuters news agency that Houthi forces had started to redeploy. Furthermore, the agency’s camera operator saw the U.N. team led by Cammaert witnessing the fighters’ withdrawal.
However, a senior official in the Saudi-backed Yemeni government denied that the Houthis have redeployed their forces from the port of al-Hudaydah and said that the group didn’t discuss the redeployment process with them beforehand.
“The statements of the Houthi militias on the redeployment in the port of al-Hudaydah is a clear attempt to cross the content of the Stockholm agreement on al-Hudaydah, these violations, which are leading to the failure of the agreement, can’t be accepted,” the unnamed official said, according to the al-Arabiya TV.
Under the UN-sponsored agreement, both sides most ceasefire in the provinces of al-Hudaydah and Tazi. The Houthis are also required to relocate their forces. The lack of trust between both sides is apparently hindering the implementation of both terms and jeopardizing the entire Yemeni peace process.