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Exclusive - Yemen FM Warns against Failure of Stockholm Agreement

Exclusive - Yemen FM Warns against Failure of Stockholm Agreement

Tuesday, 5 February, 2019 - 12:00
Yemen Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani attends a news conference on Yemen talks at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland September 8, 2018. (Reuters)
Jeddah - Saeed al-Abyad
The Yemeni government blamed the United Nations for the delay in implementing the Hodeidah agreement, brokered by the international body in Sweden in December.

The Stockholm agreement is threatened with collapse as it faces increasing Houthi-staged hostilities.

Yemeni officials cited Houthi militants’ beefing up of reinforcements near the Red Sea city, persistent arms trafficking and the digging up of trenches inside and around Hodeidah as potential deal-breakers should the UN fail in curbing these violations.

In a phone conversation with Asharq al-Awsat, Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani said: “I conveyed to the UN Secretary-General a letter from President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi that the UN should be better committed to implementing all provisions of the Stockholm agreement, which demands removing all Houthi presence from the city, followed by the re-establishment of legitimate state institutions.

Yamani stressed that the agreement will fail if Houthis are not met with “vigor” and “firmness,” given that the militias have shown their determination to evade implementing the Stockholm deal, especially on withdrawing from Hodeidah’s three ports.

The top Yemeni diplomat explained that decisiveness is the only way to deal with the Iran-backed group after it has “insisted on finding its own way to implement the Hodeidah agreement, a matter which is totally rejected.”

Yamani rejected any attempt to renegotiate the Hodeidah agreement or to reinterpret its provisions, pointing out that the “Yemeni government’s position on this issue is clear and it has fully coordinated with the UN.”

“We work according to the understandings of the Stockholm agreement and all that the government needs from the international community is a clear implementation roadmap.”

As for the prisoner swap, also arranged for under the provisions of the Stockholm deal, Yamani said the government’s experience with the militias does not bode well and he “expects to deal with more Houthi manipulation aimed at stalling the handover of prisoners.

“This file is currently experiencing difficulties, as the militias refuses to provide necessary details,” Yamani commented.

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