Yemen rivals agree to Hodeida truce | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 14, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, December 14, 2018

Yemen Peace Talks

Yemen rivals agree to Hodeida truce

Defying Trump, US Senate advances measure to end support for Saudis

♦ Deals struck on Taiz, prisoner swap, 

♦ Sanaa airport remains a stumbling block 

♦ New round of talks at the end of Jan

UN chief Antonio Guterres yesterday announced a series of breakthroughs in talks with rivals in the Yemen conflict, including a ceasefire for a vital port.

In a highly symbolic gesture on the seventh and final day of the UN-brokered peace talks in Sweden, Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani and rebel negotiator Mohammed Abdelsalam shook hands to loud applause.

However, a number of issues remain unresolved and a new round of talks with take place at the end of January, Guterres said.

The conflict has triggered what the UN calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with 14 million Yemenis now at the brink of mass starvation.

Guterres, who flew in to Sweden late Wednesday, announced that the government and Huthi rebels had agreed on a ceasefire in the port of Hodeida, the main entry point for imported food and aid.

"There is a ceasefire declared for the whole governorate of Hodeida in the agreement and there will be both from the city and the harbour a withdrawal of all forces," he told reporters.

Guterres said the United Nations would play a "leading role" in monitoring the Red Sea port, which is currently controlled by the rebels, and facilitate aid access to the civilian population.

In addition, the rivals have reached a "mutual understanding" on Yemen's third city of Taiz, the scene of some of the most intense battles in the conflict.

But no deal has been reached on the future of the airport in the capital Sanaa or on economic measures that are vital to help the country's population.

The January talks will focus on a framework for negotiations on a political process, which Guterres said was the only solution to the conflict.

Meanwhile, eleven of Trump's fellow Republicans joined Democrats to provide the 60 votes needed to advance the war powers resolution in the Republican-led chamber. The vote paved the way for debate and a vote on US involvement in a conflict that has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians, many of them young children and left millions more at risk of starvation and death by disease.

"If you want to buy our weapons, there are certain things you have to accept. How you use them matters," Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told a news conference. "The individual, the crown prince, is so toxic, so tainted, so flawed, that I can't ever see myself doing business with Saudi Arabia unless there's a change there," said Graham, generally a close Trump ally in the Senate.

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