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UN monitor of Yemen’s truce exited agreed path: Houthis

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Yemen’s chief Houthi negotiator Mohammed Abdulsalam

Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement has boycotted a United Nations (UN)-led ceasefire monitoring team in the war-ravaged country’s flashpoint city of Hudaydah, accusing the head of the team of pursuing “other agendas.”

Houthis’ chief negotiator, Mohammed Abdulsalam, made the remarks on Twitter on Sunday, saying that retired Dutch Major General Patrick Cammaert, who was to chair the meeting, had “exited from the course of the agreement by implementing other agendas.”

“It seems that the task is greater than his capabilities,” he further said, referring to the Dutch general.

Cammaert is leading a UN joint committee tasked with overseeing a truce in the western city, a lifeline for the delivery of desperately needed humanitarian aid.

In December, Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement and the country’s former Saudi-backed government signed an agreement for a ceasefire in Hudaydah during UN-brokered peace talks held in the Swedish capital of Stockholm. Martin Griffiths, the UN special envoy for Yemen, mediated the negotiations.

According to the agreement, the Houthi fighters, who are in control of Hudaydah, and Yemen’s former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi’s armed militia together Saudi-led forces — who have placed the city under a tight siege since June — must withdraw from the port and hand it over to UN observers.

“If Griffiths does not address the issue, it is going to be difficult to discuss any other matter,” Abdulsalam added, without elaborating.

According to the UN, the fragile ceasefire has largely held since it came into force on December 2018, but there have been delays in the agreed withdrawal of the Houthis and Hadi’s forces.

The limited ceasefire and withdrawal, if implemented, could offer a potential breakthrough in a nearly four-year Saudi-led war that has brought Yemen to the brink of starvation and created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Leading a coalition of its allies, Saudi Arabia invaded Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall Hadi, who had resigned amid popular discontent and fled to Riyadh, and to eliminate the Houthis, who have been running state affairs and defending Yemeni people against the Saudi brutal campaign during the nearly past four years.

The invasion, which has failed to achieve any of its goals, has reportedly killed over 56,000 people. It has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories.

The UN officials has already said that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.

With the war drawn into a deadlock, Saudi Arabia is virtually mired in a quagmire, having faced repeated military backlashes in Yemen and reprisal attacks inside its own territories.

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