ALGIERS – The agreement concluded in Sweden under the aegis of the UN between the government and the Ansrullah Movement (Houthis) aroused Sunday the hope when the resolution of the crisis in Yemen, despite fighting in the city of al Hodeida, a strategic port in the west of the country and the main front between the warring parties.
Under the agreement reached Thursday between a government delegation and the Houthis, an "immediate" ceasefire was to come into force in Hodeida, the city through which most of the country's imports pass. The withdrawal of the fighters should intervene in the "next days".
An exchange of prisoners involving some 15,000 armed men is also planned as well as agreements to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to Taez (southwest), a city in the hands of loyalists but besieged by the rebels. The inter-Yemeni talks are also scheduled to resume in late January to try to define a framework for negotiations towards a comprehensive settlement.
Cited by the Houthis-controlled Saba agency, Shami said that the "results" obtained by the rebel delegation in Sweden illustrated the "concern" of the Houthis' political leadership "to lighten the sufferings of the Yemeni people. "
"This is a positive step in the realization of the aspirations of the Yemeni people," said Mehdi al-Machat, the chairman of the "Supreme Political Council of Yemen" rebellion–, during a meeting with the rebel negotiators' delegation, according to Saba.
Since 2014, the war in Yemen has killed at least 10,000 people and is threatening millions of starving people in the country, which has "the worst humanitarian crisis in the world," according to the UN. Meanwhile sporadic shootings and shootings took place in this city, which is the entry point for humanitarian operations in Yemen.
At least 29 armed people, including 22 members of the Ansarullah movement, were killed in the fighting. In addition, seven members of the anti-government movement were arrested in a Houthi attack on Al-Douraihimi, some 20 km south of Hodeida, the same source added.
Rapid deployment of international observers to al-Hodeida
The Saba news agency, meanwhile, said that Saudi-led coalition aviation continued air raids on Sunday in al-Hodeida province. It accused pro-government forces of bombarding residential areas of the city on Saturday night.
Sporadic fighting was reported as early as Friday evening in the eastern and southern neighborhoods of al-Hodeida, the very day after the announcement of a ceasefire between the two sides in Sweden. Under the terms of the agreement, however, the cease-fire was to enter "immediately" into al-Hodeida, a city held by the Houthis, which has been the main focus of the conflict for months. The withdrawal of the combatants is planned for him in the "next days".
Inter-Yemeni negotiations must also resume in late January to try to define a negotiating framework for a comprehensive settlement. Since 2014, the war in Yemen has killed at least 10,000 people and millions of people are at risk of starvation in this country, which is facing "the worst humanitarian crisis in the world," according to the UN.
The war pits government forces, supported since 2015 by a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia, Ansarallah Houthis movement. Aware of the fragility of the deal, the UN envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, called Friday for the early deployment of international observers in al-Hodeida and in ports of the province.
"Allowing the UN to have a leading role in ports is a vital first step and we need to see this happen in the coming days," Griffiths said in a video link with the Council. from its offices in Jordan.
According to diplomats, some 30 to 40 observers could be deployed in al-Hodeida, a city of about 600,000 inhabitants. In the Yemeni conflict, other stumbling blocks persist, including that concerning the Sana'a airport. The capital itself has been in the hands of the Houthi rebels since 2014.
At the talks in Sweden, no agreement was found on this international airport whose opening is insistently demanded by the Houthis, when this infrastructure is subject to an embargo, in fact, the coalition.