U.N. hosts renewed talks on contested Yemeni port city
SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen’s warring parties have renewed talks on how to implement a year-old truce in the contested port city of Hodeida.
The two days of meetings are taking place on a boat off the coast of the city, according to a statement by the United Nations mission tasked with supporting the agreement. Previous negotiations between the Houthi rebels and Saudi-led coalition have repeatedly collapsed. The war is 5 years old.
The warring sides signed a U.N.-brokered agreement last December in Sweden that included a cease-fire for Hodeida and an exchange of more than 15,000 prisoners. But the deal was never fully implemented.
This week’s talks are centered on how both sides will redeploy forces from strategic areas in Hodeida, which has seen some of the war’s worst fighting, and on who will oversee administration of the country’s most important shipping port. They come amid a renewed push for peace.
The U.N. envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, was also in the rebel-held capital of Sanaa for meetings with Houthi officials on Monday.
Last week, several international aid groups warned that Hodeida remains the most dangerous place in the war-torn, impoverished Arab country. Since December of last year, the groups said in a statement that the port city and surrounding province has seen 799 civilians killed and wounded, the highest toll nationwide.
Yemen’s conflict began in 2014, when Iran-backed Shiite rebels known as Houthis overran the capital, Sanaa, and much of the north. They pushed out Yemen’s internationally recognized government and ushered in the civil war that has killed tens of thousands of people.
A Saudi-led coalition intervened in 2015 and has since waged war against the Houthis in an effort to restore the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to power. The fighting has also left millions suffering from food and medical care shortages and pushed the country to the brink of famine.