An American general has declined an offer to chair the Hodeida Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC), the Saudi Asharq Al-awsat paper said Monday, as the Yemeni internationally-recognized government changed its senior negotiator at the RCC.
The American General Timothy James Kiting has expressed reluctance to replace the Danish Major General Michael Lollesgaard as head of the RCC, the paper quoted sources, including one at the United Nations.
Yemen has been racked by a 4-year bloody conflictbetween the Yemeni official government's forces, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, and the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels who ousted the government in 2014.
Parties to the 4-year war in Yemen, after 8-day peace talks in Sweden, reached on the 13th of last December an agreement providing for ceasefire in Hodeida and redeployment of both sides' forces, exchanging prisoners and alleviating blockade imposed by Houthis on Taiz.
But none of this has taken place so far, with both sides trading blames for trying to thwart the deal.
The UN is looking for another general to take the "almost impossible" mission to persuade the Yemeni official government and Houthi rebels of the issue of local security forces, with the government accusing Houthis of taking off the combating uniform and putting on the dress of local forces, said the sources.
Separately, the Yemeni legitimate government has appointed General Mohamed MuslihAidha as head of its RCC team, in place of Sagheer bin Aziz who has been appointed as commander of the armed forces' joint operations, Yemeni sources told the Saudi paper.
Yemeni rivals hold RCC latest meeting last July on a ship, where they agreed to a new mechanism for enhancing the ceasefire and the redeployment first and second phases, and to the deployment ofliaison officers in the port city of Hodeida.
The liaison officers will work closely with the RCC, tasked by the UN with monitoring the Hodeida deal, as an additional measure that would help build confidence and de-escalate tension between the warring parties and help them to abide by the pact and save lives.
Following the boat meeting, UN Envoy Martin Griffiths has said he sought to solve three issues in Hodeida.
The first "thorny" issue is how to deal with local forces, second is how deal with the ports revenue management, the third issue is related to the first of governance.
The Red Sea city of Hodeida and its ports have been under Houthi control since late 2014, while Yemeni joint forces loyal to legitimate government and Arab coalition have massed at the city's fringes since last November seeking to retake the strategic port.