SANAA: The United Nations has cast doubt on the claims by the Houthis to have withdrawn from the port of Hodeidah, saying such steps can only be credible if all other parties can verify them.
A spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Sunday that the Houthis failed to honor an agreement to open a “humanitarian” corridor between Hodeidah and the capital, Sanaa, to deliver humanitarian assistance.
The Houthis said Saturday they handed over control of the port to the coast guard as part of confidence-building measures agreed this month in peace talks in Sweden.
A UN official, who requested anonymity, also said that the Houthis began to pull back from the Red Sea port at midnight (2100 GMT Friday). However, the government denied this, saying it was a ploy by the Iran-aligned militia to maintain control of the port.
The government accused the Houthis of backtracking on the UN agreement, claiming that the militias were misleading officials about their withdrawal by pulling out their forces and handing it over to their affiliates.
A member of the Yemeni government delegation to the Sweden UN-brokered peace talks Askar Zayel, told Yemen’s state news agency the Houthis actions have a negative impact on the peace deal regarding the port.
“This manoeuvre reduces the chances for peace and reveals the intentions of the militia and their tireless efforts in thwarting the UN-sponsored agreement sponsored,” Askar Zayel, told Saba Net.
“The government will inform the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the five permanent members that this action is unacceptable and inadmissible, for it violates the Sweden agreement,” Zayel said.
He pointed out that the agreement stated the port must be handed over “to local units of Yemen’s coast guards who were in charge of protecting the ports before the conflict, as stated by Yemeni law.”