Yemen’s government and Huthi rebels have agreed on the first phase of a pullback of forces from the key city of Hodeidah, in a deal the United Nations described Sunday as important progress.
The redeployment from Hodeidah is a critical part of a ceasefire deal reached in December in Sweden that calls on the government and Huthis to move forces away from ports and parts of city.
The fragile truce deal marks the first step toward ending a devastating war that has pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.
Following two days of talks in Hodeidah city, the government and Huthis finalized a deal on the first phase of the pullback and also agreed in principle on the second phase, a UN statement said.
The talks were led by Danish General Michael Lollesgaard as chair of a redeployment coordination committee (RCC) that includes the government and the Huthis.
“After lengthy but constructive discussions facilitated by the RCC Chair, the parties reached an agreement on Phase 1 of the mutual redeployment of forces,” said the UN statement.
The sides made “important progress on planning for the redeployment of forces” but no date was given to begin the demilitarization.
“The parties also agreed, in principle, on Phase 2 of the mutual redeployment, pending additional consultations within their respective leadership.”
The first phase provides for a pullback from the ports of Hodeidah, Saleef, Ras Issa and from parts of the city where there are humanitarian facilities.
Under the Stockholm agreement, the pullback was supposed to have taken place two weeks after the ceasefire went into force on December 18, but that deadline was missed.