1251 GMT February 18, 2020
Houthi forces will withdraw 5 km (3 miles) from the ports of As-Salif, used for grain, and Ras Isa, an oil terminal, as a first step agreed with the former Yemeni government, three sources said, Reuters reported.
The Houthi withdrawal from Hodeida port and the pull-back by the coalition forces one km away from the city’s “Kilo 7” eastern suburb would take place as a second step, they said.
In a declaration on Friday, the UN Security Council welcomed the recent UN-sponsored agreement between Yemen’s Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition fighting the country.
The 15-member council called for “the immediate implementation” of the first step of the deal, which includes the various factions first pulling their forces back from the ports of As-Salif and Ras Isa and then from the port city of Hodeida.
The United Nations has been trying to salvage a truce deal agreed at peace talks in December between the Houthis and the Saudi-backed former government. That process has stalled over who would control of Hodeida, a Red Sea port used to feed Yemen’s 30 million people.
Hodeida is held by the Houthis while other Yemeni forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition loyal to former president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi are positioned on the edges of the city.
The Saudi kingdom has enlisted the UAE as its closest ally in the invasion which began in March 2015 to restore a former government after it resigned and fled to Riyadh.
The war has killed over 15,000 civilians and sparked a cholera epidemic and humanitarian crisis.
About 80 percent of Yemen’s population, or around 24 million people, are in need of food aid, including 10 million who are one step away from famine, according to the UN.
The country’s economy has been brought to its knees by restrictions placed by the former government for deliveries of imports.