Three weeks after the UN-brokered ceasefire in Yemen’s key port city of Hodeidah entered into force, the warring sides continue to trade accusations over who has broken the fragile truce and still disagree when and where the next round of talks will be held.
The Iran-aligned Houthi rebels have been fighting a Saudi-led Arab coalition in Yemen since 2015, and the Houthis have claimed over these years that they have targeted and hit oil facilities of Saudi Aramco in Saudi Arabia.
The Houthi rebels also targeted a Saudi oil tanker in the Bab el Mandeb strait off the Hodeidah port in July last year, causing minimal damage.
In December 2018, Yemen’s warring parties agreed to a UN-brokered ceasefire in and around the key port of Hodeidah, to facilitate the humanitarian access and the flow of goods to the civilian population who are suffering from the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
“You have agreed to meet again to continue to discuss this further at the end of January during the next round of negotiations,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, commenting on the ceasefire, and added that the truce “was a ‘critical element’ of a future political settlement to end the conflict.”
Less than a month after the ceasefire was agreed upon, the Houthi rebels and the Yemen officials are accusing each other of breaking the truce.
“The mercenaries of US-backed Saudi-led coalition waged on Monday an artillery attack on residential areas of Hodeidah province,” Houthi-controlled Saba news agency reported on Monday, quoting a military official.
The Yemen government and allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), however, are complaining that the Houthis violated the ceasefire and the rebels show no signs of getting ready to withdraw from their positions at Hodeidah. The rebels shelled a village in the Hodeidah district, residents told The National last week.
“We have said before and continue to say that we will not attend the next round of talks unless the Houthis comply to what was agreed in Sweden,” a government official told The National on Monday.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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