Aden - Yemen’s government wants the United Nations to give time-frames for next steps of a peace deal after Houthi forces began withdrawing from key ports in the most significant advance yet for efforts to end the four-year war and relieve hunger. In line with an accord in Sweden last year, the Iran-aligned Houthi movement began on Saturday a unilateral pullout from three Red Sea ports used for grain, oil, commerce and aid. Local coast guards have taken over security at the Saleef, Ras Isa and Hodeidah ports, according to the United Nations which is supervising operations there. Some officials from the Saudi-backed, internationally recognised Yemeni government dismissed the pullout as a “show”, but government negotiator Sadiq Dweid acknowledged it marked the start of implementing the Stockholm accord.
The war has killed tens of thousands of people and left millions on the brink of famine. Dweid tweeted late on Saturday that he had held a positive meeting with the chief U.N. observer, agreeing that the pullout should lead to time frames for implementing a U.N. mechanism for inspecting ships, de-mining and removing military installations. While the Houthi move encouraged foreign powers pushing to re-open humanitarian corridors, displaced Hodeidah residents said they were not ready to return. “We fled the war and I do not want to go back unless it ends, I fear death,” said Sami, an 11-year-old who lives with his family in a graveyard in the capital Aden. “War destroyed everything - no work and no security,” said Abdul Rahman Taher, a 34-year-old man forced from his home in Hodeidah and now washing cars in Aden.
RETREAT FROM HODEIDAH