UN truce monitor chief visits Yemen’s Hodeidah
HODEIDA - The head of the United Nations team tasked with monitoring a fragile ceasefire in the flashpoint city of Hodeida on Monday visited its lifeline docks, a port official said.
Retired Dutch general Patrick Cammaert also called on Yemen's warring sides -- Saudi-backed government forces and Iran-linked Huthi rebels -- to respect the hard-won truce agreed this month in Sweden, Hodeida port deputy director Yehya Sharafeddin said.
Cammaert visited the docks through which the majority of imports and humanitarian aid enter war-torn Yemen, Sharafeddin said.
"The (UN) official promised us that the war will end," he said by phone.
"He said the Yemen war had been forgotten for years but that the international community is now adamant about ending it," Sharafeddin added.
Cammaert is heading a joint committee including members of the government and the Huthi rebels, in charge of monitoring a truce in the vital Red Sea city and its surroundings.
Cammaert arrived in Hodeida from the rebel-held capital Sanaa after meeting with government officials in Aden.
Yemen's warring sides agreed on a ceasefire to halt a devastating offensive by government forces and an allied Saudi-led coalition against rebel-held Hodeida at peace talks in Sweden this month.
According to the UN he will chair on Wednesday a meeting of a joint committee including members of the government and the Huthi rebels, in charge of monitoring a truce in the vital Red Sea port.
That meeting will be "one of the priorities" of Cammaert's mission, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Sunday
The UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution authorising the deployment of observers to Hodeida to monitor the truce that came into effect last week.
Sharafeddin said that Cammaert "stressed the importance of implementing the agreement" and will visit "battlefronts (in the city) at a later time".
The ceasefire was agreed at peace talks in Sweden earlier this month following intense diplomatic efforts led by the UN.
But the truce has remained shaky, with both sides accusing each other of violations in Hodeida province.
The UN monitoring team aims to secure the functioning of Hodeida port and supervise the withdrawal of fighters from the city.
Around 10,000 people have been killed since the Saudi-led intervention began, according to the World Health Organization, although rights groups say the death toll could be five times higher.
The conflict has unleashed a major humanitarian crisis and pushed 14 million Yemenis to the brink of famine.