Houthi forces have begun withdrawal from the ports of Salif and Ras Isa in the Red Sea Yemeni governorate of Hodeida, said the group Saturday, under the UN-brokered peace deal reached by rivals in Sweden last December.
Withdrawal by 5 kilometers from Hodeida ports has started on time, Houthi-appointed acting governor of Hodeida told reporters, noting that the ports were handed over to Houthi interior ministry.
UN teams are monitoring the Houthi movements at the two ports, said witnesses.
On Friday, the United Nations said Houthi group has agreedto unilaterally withdraw from the Hodeida threeports during 11 to 14 May, in preparation for UN leading role in managing the ports.
However, the government-appointed governor has said the withdrawals did not comply with the agreed steps, as the "redeployment deal provides for tri-sided monitoring and demining."
"What happening in Hodeida is an attempt to conceal failure of the UN Envoy Martin Griffiths," al-Hassan Taher added, noting that his official government would "not accept such farce and would be the main party to any pact."
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.
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.
Earlier on Saturday, a Houthi senior leader said the unilateral withdrawal from Hodeida three ports has come because the Saudi-led coalition refused to apply Stockholm Agreement.
"The withdrawal confirms that the [coalition] aggression countries were behind the stalled implementation of the pact," Mohamed Ali al-Houthi added.
On their part, the Yemeni government has dubbed the rebel offer as misleading.
"The offer by Houthi militias to redeploy from Hodeida, Salif and Ras Isa ports that started Saturday is inaccurate, misleading and a duplication of the militias' farce" when they handed Hodeida to their elements, government Information Minister Moa'mmar al-Eryani added on Twitter.
"Any unilateral withdrawal is unacceptable as it doesn't allow for joint monitoring and verification of the deal application," he said, warning of Houthi attempts to "mislead the international community and UN Security Council prior to its next session."