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Yemen: Lollesgaard Inspects Houthi Withdrawal on Tuesday

Yemen: Lollesgaard Inspects Houthi Withdrawal on Tuesday

Monday, 13 May, 2019 - 05:30
Houthis near Hodeidah Port. Reuters
Riyadh - Asma al-Ghabri
Lt. Gen. Michael Lollesgaard, the head of a UN mission overseeing the ceasefire in the Yemeni city of Hodeidah, announced that the first day of the withdrawal of Houthi militias from three ports went "in accordance with established plans,” adding that monitors will verify the pullout on Tuesday.

"All three ports were monitored simultaneously by United Nations teams as the military forces left the ports and the Coast Guard took over responsibility for security," said a statement issued by the UN Mission to Support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA) on Sunday.

It added that the coming days will witness demining operations.

Under the UN plan, Houthis should make an “initial unilateral redeployment” between May 11 and May 14 from the ports of Saleef, which is used for grain, and Ras Isa, used for oil, as well as the country’s main port of Hodeidah.

Lollesgaard, who chairs the Redeployment Coordination Committee, said last week that the redeployment in the Yemeni port city must be followed by committed, transparent and sustained actions of the parties involved to fully deliver on their obligations.

Meanwhile, West coast liberation operations spokesman Waddah al-Dbish told Asharq Al-Awsat Sunday that UN monitors began arriving in Hodeidah.

He said the monitors are expected to allow the entry of observers from the government team to verify the militias’ pullout.

“Now, the withdrawal is not unilateral anymore,” Dbish said, adding that it became part of the first phase of the redeployment plan in Hodeidah and its three ports.

“A meeting was held two days ago between Lollesgaard and the government team to discuss aspects of the withdrawal within a certain timeframe and to activate the UN role in Hodeidah,” he said.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Development Program said Sunday it was ready to help improve the efficiency and productivity of the ports of Hodeidah, Ras al-Isa and Salif.

The agency said that as soon as redeployment is complete, it would help upgrade port facilities including watch towers, berths and the navigation channels.

“We are drawing upon our extensive experience, as well as national and international expertise, to ensure we can fully restore the functionality of the ports as soon as possible,” said Auke Lootsma, UNDP Yemen’s Resident Representative.

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