UN Security Council meets on saving Yemen truce deal
NEW YORK: United Nations Security Council met behind closed doors to try to salvage a stalled truce deal in Yemen seen as crucial to diplomatic efforts to end the devastating war.
Yemen’s government and its Saudi and Emirati allies agreed in talks with Huthi rebels nearly a month ago to redeploy their forces from flashpoint city of Hodeida, but nothing has happened on the ground.
UN envoy Martin Griffiths told council that he was “still working with parties to make redeployment in Hodeida a reality,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.
Pullback was agreed in December under a ceasefire deal reached in Sweden that offered the best hope in years of moving toward an end to the conflict that has pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.
Details of a two-stage pullback from Hodeida city and its ports were finalized during a meeting between the government and the Huthis on February 17, marking the first concrete step toward de-escalation.
UN diplomats said that Huthis were refusing to pull away from the ports of Saleef and Ras Issa as part of the first stage, citing fears that forces linked to the Saudi-led coalition will move in to take over those facilities.
“It’s clear that one party has more problems than the other at the moment, but this tends to swing around,” British Ambassador Karen Pierce told reporters after meeting.
General Michael Lollesgaard, who also briefed council as head of a newly-created UN mission to monitor redeployment from Hodeida, will hold meetings in coming days to push for action on the ground, diplomats said.
“If there is not progress and if Stockholm does collapse, Security Council will need to think about further measures and that is a very big step,” Pierce said in an interview to Al-Arabiya television.