Spokesman for the pro-government forces in western Yemen Colonel Wadhah Al-Dubaish said on Monday withdrawal of forces from Hodeida is no longer unilateral.
In a statement to the Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, Al-Dubaish said the Houthi withdrawal has been implemented within the first phase of redeployment in line with the Stockholm Agreement.
Earlier, Houthi leader and member in the Houthi Group's political bureau Mohammed Al-Bukhaiti said his group's withdrawal from the three ports of Hodeidah comes under an agreement reached by the two sides two months ago. The agreement called for Houthi withdrawal from the ports in return for the withdrawal of the pro-government forces from the Red Sea mills silos in east of Hodeidah.
Al-Bukhaiti said his group suggested to the UN team a unilateral withdrawal but the UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths preferred that mutual withdrawals take place at the same time. Griffiths continued to convince the other side to withdraw for two months, and after his efforts failed, we decided to withdraw unilaterally, Al-Bukhaiti said. The Houthis have been controlling Hodeidah since they ousted the government and seized the capital Sanaa in late 2014.
Al-Dubaish told the newspaper: "After chair of the redeployment coordination committee Michael Lollesgaard provided clarification to the UN Security Council with regard to what the UN envoy's office announced about the Houthi withdrawal, many questions were answered.
On the next day, the government team in the committee held a meeting with Lollesgaard that focused on withdrawal's timeline and activation of the UN management role".
"The government team agreed with Lollesgaard on a timeline to activate the mechanism of inspection, removing mines and military manifestations, finalizing the first phase of redeployment and a mechanism of supervising revenues of the ports by the UN and the government teams," Al-Dubaish said.
He said UN monitors have started arriving at the ports to oversee the Houthi withdrawal and getting into the ports.
The withdrawal will start from the ports' berths into 5 kilometers towards the area of Al-Jabanah, he added.
The Houthi Group on Saturday announced it was withdrawing from the ports of Hodeidah, Ras Isa and Al-Salif in Hodeidah in line with the Stockholm Agreement.
At the time, the internationally recognised government said the move was a play, with foreign minister Khalid Al-Yamani saying "the Stockholm agreement did not state for a unilateral withdrawal".
Yemen has been battered by a five-year armed conflict the internationally recognised government backed by a Saudi-led Arab coalition and the Iran-backed Houthis. The conflict has resulted in the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
The two sides signed the Stockholm Agreement during UN-sponsored peace talks in Sweden in December. The implementation of the agreement should have started in January.