News ID: 237284
Published: 0319 GMT January 13, 2019

Yemen’s Houthis boycott meeting with UN-led truce monitors

Yemen’s Houthis boycott meeting with UN-led truce monitors

Yemeni Houthis on Sunday boycotted a meeting chaired by the head of a UN-led cease-fire monitoring team in the flashpoint city of Hodeida, accusing him of pursuing "other agendas".

Retired Dutch general Patrick Cammaert is leading a joint committee, which includes both former government and Houthi representatives, tasked with overseeing a truce in the Red Sea port city and the withdrawal of both parties.

Houthi negotiator Mohammed Abdelsalam said Cammaert "steered from the course of the agreement by implementing other agendas".

"If (UN envoy to Yemen Martin) Griffiths does not address the issue, it is going to be difficult to discuss any other matter," he said on Twitter without elaborating.

The Houthi representatives did not take part in the committee meeting in Hodeida on Sunday. The UN declined to comment.

Clashes erupted between Houthis and government forces in Hodeida on Saturday, dealing a new blow to the fragile truce.

The Houthi-held port city, which is a lifeline for the delivery of desperately needed humanitarian aid, was for months the main front line in the Yemeni conflict after former government forces supported by Saudi Arabia and its allies launched an offensive to capture it in June.

But last month the warring parties agreed a cease-fire for Hodeida during UN-sponsored talks in Sweden.

The United Nations has said the truce has largely held since it came into force on December 18 but there have been delays in the agreed pullback of Houthis and former government forces.

The Houthis control most of Hodeida while former government forces are deployed on the southern and eastern outskirts.

Since the Saudi-led military coalition intervened in support of the former government in March 2015, the conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and unleashed the world's worst humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations.

UN aid officials say 80 percent of the population – 24 million people – are in need of aid and nearly 10 million are just one step away from famine.




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