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UN Envoy to Yemen in Muscat, Pressures Houthis to Accept Redeployment Plan

UN Envoy to Yemen in Muscat, Pressures Houthis to Accept Redeployment Plan

Tuesday, 2 April, 2019 - 06:00
UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths. (AFP)
Aden, Jeddah - Asharq Al-Awsat
UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths continued on Monday to exert pressure on the Iran-backed Houthi militias to accept the plan of head of the Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) in Hodeidah, Lieutenant-General Michael Lollesgaard.

He made his efforts hours before placing the finishing touches on the RCC’s amended plan concerning the Houthi withdrawal from the Hodeidah ports of al-Salif and Ras Issa,

Sources close to the militias said Griffiths landed on Sunday in the Omani capital, Muscat, where he met with Houthi spokesperson Mohammed Abdulsalam to discuss the implementation of the Hodeidah agreement.

Houthi-run media outlets claimed that the meeting with the UN envoy touched on hurdles that are impeding the implementation of the two-phase redeployment plan. They also discussed proposals to prevent any escalation in the city of Hodeidah and its port.

The meeting also dealt with the issue of prisoners.

The legitimacy forces have already agreed to Lollesgaard’s amended plan.

“Lollesgaard should return today (Tuesday) to the legitimate government controlled areas east the city of Hodeidah to meet with its representatives and finalize the plan’s procedural items, including the withdrawal of forces from the Salif and Ras Issa ports and coordinate over the security situation,” observers said.

Under the UN plan, the militias should pull back five kilometers from the ports, while legitimate forces should withdraw one kilometer from the city’s “Kilo 7” eastern suburb.

A team of observers from the United Nations, government and Houthis from the RCC would then help verify the pullout and oversee the demining operation.

Last week, the Yemeni army warned of an expected Houthi deception and said the militias might reject the UN plan at the last minute.

Meanwhile, a government source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Houthis were trying to carry out a maneuver in Hodeidah to break the siege on dozens of militia members.

The militants are trapped in the al-Durayhimi district near Hodeidah city and reports alleged that they were ready to surrender to government forces.

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