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UN-backed ceasefire goes into effect in Yemen’s Hodeidah

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Representatives of a Houthi delegation greeted by supporters at Sanaa International Airport in Sanaa, Yemen, on Dec. 14, 2018 upon their return from UN-sponsored peace talks held in Sweden. Xinhua

ADEN (NNN-SABA) – The ceasefire agreement, reached between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels, during the UN-sponsored peace talks in Sweden, went into effect at midnight local time (2100 GMT), on Monday.

The UN-brokered cease-fire covers the strategic Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, along with its seaports, which are still controlled by the Iranian-backed Houthis, local officials said.

The Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC), the joint committee in charge of implementing the Hodeidah agreement, is expected to start its work swiftly, to translate the momentum built up in Sweden, into achievements on the ground, the statement said.

Mohammed Abdul-Salam, spokesman of the Houthi group, reaffirmed the Houthis’ “commitment to the Stockholm’s accord and the cease-fire in Hodeidah.”

Meanwhile, sources said, the Saudi-backed Yemeni government issued direct orders to commanders of the Fourth Regional Military Command and the forces in Hodeidah to stop the fighting and adhere to the cease-fire.

The cease-fire deal signed between the two warring rivals last week, in Sweden, called for full withdrawal of all armed groups from Hodeidah and its strategic seaports.

According to the terms of the deal, the UN will manage the port and supervise the redeployment of neutral forces there, to prevent military escalation, while local forces will help support law and order in the city.

Two days ahead of the ceasefire, fierce armed confrontations broke out between the two-warring sides, in different areas of Hodeidah, causing casualties.

The internal military conflict between the Houthis and the Saudi-backed Yemeni government, entered its fourth year, aggravating the suffering of Yemenis and deepening the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in the country.

Three quarters of the population, or more than 22 million people, urgently need some form of humanitarian assistance, including 8.4 million people, who struggle to find their next meal.

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