Yemen’s Houthi forces have started to redeploy from the port of the Red Sea city of Hudaydah as part of a UN-sponsored peace agreement signed in Sweden earlier this month, a UN source and a spokesman for the group said on Saturday.
The Iranian-aligned Houthis have agreed with the Saudi-backed government to implement a ceasefire in Hudaydah province and withdraw their respective forces.
Retired Dutch general Patrick Cammaert, the head of a United Nations advance team charged with monitoring the ceasefire, arrived in Hudaydah this week.
Under the deal, international monitors are to be deployed in Hudaydah and a Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) including both sides, chaired by Cammaert, will oversee implementation. The committee started its meetings this week.
A UN source said the Houthi forces, which control the city and its strategic port, had started to redeploy overnight.
Hudaydah’s Houthi governor, Mohammed Ayash Qaheem, told Reuters that the group’s fighters had withdrawn from the port as specified in the peace agreement, handing control to local units of Yemeni coast guards who were in charge of protecting ports before the war. These will be under UN supervision.
A Reuters camera operator saw the UN team led by Cammaert witnessing the fighters’ withdrawal.
The Houthis’ withdrawal from the three ports of Hudaydah, Salif and Rass Issa is intended to be the first step in the implementation of the agreement, to be followed by both sides pulling their forces out of the city and the surrounding province.