Yemeni govt.: Houthis withdraw or Hodeida freed militarily

Stockholm (Debriefer)
2018-12-08 | Since 1 Week

Hodeida  (Archive)

اضغط هنا لقراءة الخبر بالعربية

The internationally recognized Yemeni government on Saturday threatened Houthi group of military decision if they do not yield to political solution and withdraw from the western port city of Hodeida.

The new threats come as the two parties convened by the UN at Sweden for peace talks that started on Thursday.

"The military option is still in place, if Houthis refuse to withdraw from Hodeida," said Yemeni Minister of Agriculture, Othman Mujali.

"We are now at talks in response to the international community and UN and its envoy, and still discussing negotiation's framework," added Mujali who is also a member of Hadi delegation to Stockholm peace talks.

On Friday, Houthi leader announced his group's refusal to submit the strategic port to the legitimate government.

"The idea of submitting Hodeida port is never possible," AFP quoted Houthi negotiator Abdulmalik al-Ajri as saying.

Another Houthi negotiator told Al-Jazeera channel that Hodeida port should be neutralized from military conflict, calling for governing body to be formed first and then all parties should be disarmed.

Hodeida port, through which 80% of commercial food and human aids pass, is controlled by Houthi group since late 2014.

The legitimation government's delegation to the UN-sponsored peace talks reportedly defined on Friday their conditions on reopening Sana'a Airport and running Hodeida port, which they said should be inspected by Hadi government to ensure civilians' access to aids.

UN envoy, Martin Griffiths, seeks a deal between warring parties on reopening the airport, supporting the Central Bank of Yemen and securing a ceasefire in Hodeida controlled by Houthis and the focus of recent fighting.

Both Yemeni rivals on Friday agreed to discuss six key points featuring the second day of talks that passed with no significant progress on any of those points.

The points put by Griffiths include release of prisoners and forcibly detained, security humanitarian aids' inflow, situation in Hodeida and harbor submission, lifting the Houthi-imposed siege on Taiz City's main entrances, Sana'a Airport, and economy.

The UN warned that an assault or siege by Saudi-led coalition on Hodeida may lead to human catastrophe.

Overlooking the Red Sea, Hodeida port serves as the lifeline for millions living in northern Yemen, but the government and the coalition are accusing the Houthis of using Hodeida seaport to smuggle Iranian weapons including ballistic missiles, charge denied by Houthis and Iran.

The Arab coalition says that one of their main justifications for military intervention is to protect shipment on the Red Sea, via which Middle East oil and Asian goods go to Europe.

The coalition and Yemeni government have repeatedly insisted on freeing Hodeida governorate and all other Yemeni lands controlled by Houthis, whom they held responsible for "obstinacy and failure to respond to international efforts" and any resultant serious adversaries at human and political levels.

Yemen has been racked by an armed conflict that broke out after the Iran-backed Houthis had ousted the internationally recognized government late in 2014.

The conflict escalated after a Saudi-led coalition intervened militarily in the country in March 2015 to reinstate the government of President Hadi, leaving some tens of thousands killed, hundreds of thousands injured, and 3 million displaced.

Yemen is facing the world's worst humanitarian crisis, according to the UN, with more than two thirds of the 28-million population in need for a type of humanitarian aid and immediate protection, including 8.4 million people unsure how to get next meal, and some 2 million children suffering severe shortage of nutrition.

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