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Exclusive - First Joint Deployment to Reinforce Hodeidah Ceasefire

Exclusive - First Joint Deployment to Reinforce Hodeidah Ceasefire

Sunday, 20 October, 2019 - 06:15
Workers unload wheat assistance provided by UNICEF from a cargo ship at the Red Sea port of Hodeidah. (AFP)
Aden - Ali Rabih
The UN supervised on Saturday the establishment of the first joint observation point between the Yemeni legitimate government and Iran-backed Houthi militias east of Hodeidah city, a move expected to reinforce a ceasefire that was signed by the two parties last year.

Yemeni government sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that a meeting was held Saturday in Hodeidah where the warring parties agreed on a timetable to introduce three other observation points by next Tuesday.

“A joint meeting of the two sides was held in al-Khamseen Street, at the Khamiri point, in the presence of chair of the Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) and head of United Nations Mission to Support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA) Abhijit Guha,” West coast liberation operations spokesman Waddah al-Dbish told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Despite the development, he warned that the Houthis could still violate the agreement.

He also revealed that representatives from the legitimate government at the RCC and liaison officers headed by General Abdul Rahman Numan, had voiced their readiness to establish the other three observation points immediately on the same day on Saturday.

This was met with Houthi refusal.

Dbish explained that Guha stressed the need to speed up the start of field deployment in Hodeidah.

He said the joint forces and coalition forces, supported by the legitimate government, all helped facilitate Saturday’s meeting as a first step to strengthen the ceasefire in the coastal area.

A text of the agreement, received by Asharq Al-Awsat, stipulates that a second observation point should be set up on Sunday in the Saleh point, a third on Monday in the Kilo 16 district and a fourth point on Tuesday in the southern al-Manzar area.

The agreement also bars any party from infiltrating to the observation points or to bringing in military reinforcements, adding that local joint committees, including liaison officers from government forces and the Houthi militias, are tasked with monitoring the areas under the direction of UN officers.

Dbish said the legitimate government is offering the UN and Houthis this last chance to strengthen and reinforce the ceasefire in Hodeidah.

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