Yemen's parties agree on Hodeida redeployment

A Yemeni man walks carrying on his walking cane a bag of food aid provided by a local charity to affected families in Sanaa. — AFP

RIYADH/UNITED NATIONS — Yemen's government and the Iranian-backed Houthi militias have agreed to start withdrawing from the main port of Hodeida under a UN-sponsored deal, the United Nations said.

"The parties reached an agreement on Phase 1 of the mutual redeployment of forces," the UN spokesman's office said in a statement without giving details on what was agreed.

Under Phase 1, the Houthis would withdraw from the ports of Hodeida, Saleef, used for grains, and Ras Isa, used for oil.

The UN statement said the two sides also agreed "in principle" on Phase 2, entailing full redeployment of both parties' forces in Hodeida province.

The parties could decide within 7-10 days on where they would re-position forces, said the other source, adding that Houthi fighters could pull back as far as 20 km (15 miles) from the port.

Under the first phase, agreement was reached on enabling access to Red Sea Mills, which holds some 50,000 tonnes of World Food Program grain, enough to feed 3.7 million people for a month, the source said. Access to the site has been cut off since September due to fighting. — Reuters