Hodeidah ceasefire monitoring urgently needed :UN envoy

NEWYORK – Hodeidah, the landing point for much of the country’s imported goods, dominated the talks in Sweden. The humanitarian situation in Yemen has deteriorated in recent months.

“Allowing the UN the lead role in the ports is the vital first step,” said Mr Griffiths. “We must see this happen within days.”

The UN is to work with local officials in Hodeidah and the country’s other Red Sea ports of Salif and Ras Issa, under the document agreed between Yemen’s government and the rebels, in Rimbo, Sweden, on Thursday. Doing so should allow more ships carrying aid and essential goods to land.

Under the ceasefire, the UN said armed forces from both sides must withdraw within 21 days at the most. Hodeidah should instead come under the control of local forces. Humanitarian corridors are also to be established and monitored by the UN.

“This is a humanitarian stop gap to save lives and turn the tide of war towards peace,” Mr Griffiths said. “I also come before you today with a call for caution. Our collective achievements this week were a significant step forward. But what’s in front of us is a daunting task.”

Minutes before he briefed the Security Council diplomats said they were seeking to put together a plan that can put the ceasefire into effect.

“We see a glimmer of hope,” Karel van Osterom, the permanent representative of The Netherlands, a member of the Council, told reporters in New York.

“We have been pushing for progress but the situation on the ground is still one of utter desperation. We feel very strongly we need a resolution as soon as possible.”

Maintaining any ceasefire in Hodeidah likely means UN involvement but Mr van Osterom said it was “too early” to say if that would involve a Blue Helmet force being deployed.