United Nations envoy urges Yemen combatants to withdraw from lifeline port

Vastavam web: The United Nations envoy for Yemen on Monday urged the warring parties to withdraw their troops from the port of Hodeidah quickly, and international aid agencies said conditions for thousands of starving people were deteriorating fast. “The initial timelines were rather ambitious,” he said in comments posted on Twitter. “We are dealing with a complex situation on the ground.”

The aid agencies, meeting in London, said people were struggling to feed their children in what had become the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. But, said Isabelle Moussard Carlsen of Action Against Hunger, more aid was not the only solution to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people. “I think we need to be very clear that we need a political solution to this conflict,” she said.

The Houthis control Hodeidah, and troops of a Saudi-led coalition are massed on its outskirts. The warring sides disagree over who should control the city and port after forces withdraw. The truce in Hodeidah has largely been respected since coming into force a month ago, but skirmishes continue. Troops have not yet pulled out, missing a Jan. 7 target, and residents and aid workers have told that barricades, trenches and roadblocks have been reinforced. Retired Dutch general Patrick Cammaert, who arrived in Hodeidah late last month to lead an advance team of monitors, will be replaced with Danish Lieutenant General Michael Anker Lollesgaard, who led a U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali in 2015 and 2016, Guterres said. He did not state why Cammaert was leaving. A senior U.N. diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said last week that Cammaert had said he would do the job only for a short time.