The United Nations said Friday Houthi group would start Saturday unilateral withdrawal from Hodeida three ports, with the official government labeling any one-sided redeployment as farce if not jointly verified.
The UN News website said the UN "Chair of the Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) on Friday welcomed an offer by the Houthi opposition to begin a unilateral withdrawal" from Hodeida, Salif and Ras Isa ports.
In his statement, Danish General Michael Lollesgaard, head of the RCC, said the UN Mission to Support the Hodeida Agreement "will monitor and report on this unilateral redeployment," due to begin on Saturday and be completed on Tuesday, according to the UN website.
He noted this was "a first practical step on the ground" since the UN-brokered Agreement reached between Yemeni rivals, stressing that it must be followed by "the committed, transparent and sustained actions of the parties to fully deliver on their obligations."
"Furthermore," the UN general added, "this unilateral redeployment should allow for establishing a UN leading role in supporting the Red Sea Ports Corporation in managing the ports," as well as for enhancing the UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism in accordance with the Agreement.
The full implementation of the Hodeida Agreement remains instrumental to ensuring effective humanitarian access into Yemen where millions remain dependent on life-saving assistance.
"The Yemeni parties must continue to urgently work towards this goal, and all commitments made in Stockholm in December 2018," said Gen. Lollesgaard.
The UN "will continue to support the parties in this regard so that they deliver on their obligations towards the Yemeni people and return peace and stability to their land," he added.
The official government has said any unilateral withdrawal from the strategic ports, without joint observation and verification, would be farce.
"We are prepared to apply the redeployment first stage as agreed," said head of the government team in the RCC. But he labeled "any unilateral withdrawal without joint observation and verification"as"reneging the agreement and a farce."
These development come following a meeting between Lollesgaard and the government RCC team in Aden.
Yemen has been racked by a 4-year bloody conflictbetween the internationally recognized Yemeni government's forces, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, and the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels who ousted the government.
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 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.
Yemen 4-year war hastriggered what the UN calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with most of the population in need for a type of humanitarian aid and immediate protection, including 14 million people risking famine and some 1.8 million children suffering malnutrition.
The conflict has lefttens of thousands killed, hundreds of thousands injured, and 3 million displaced.