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UN to approve Yemen truce monitors on Wednesday

January 16, 2019 at 1:38 am

United Kingdom Ambassador to the United Nations Karen Pierce, makes a speech during the UN Security Council meeting on Yemen at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, United States on 14 December, 2018 [Atılgan Özdil/Anadolu Agency]

The United Nations Security Council is due to vote on Wednesday to approve the deployment of up to 75 observers to Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah for six months to monitor a ceasefire and redeployment of forces by the warring parties, diplomats said, Reuters reports.

After a week of UN-sponsored peace talks in Sweden last month, the Iranian-aligned Houthi group and Saudi-backed Yemen government foes reached the deal on Hodeidah, the entry point for most of Yemen’s commercial goods and aid supplies, and a lifeline for millions of Yemenis on the verge of starvation.

The 15-member Security Council last month authorized an advance monitoring team led by retired Dutch General Patrick Cammaert and asked UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to recommended a larger operation.

The council will vote on Wednesday on a British-drafted resolution that asks Guterres to “expeditiously” deploy his recommended larger operation, which will be known as the United Nations Mission to support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA).

Read: New clashes between Yemeni army and Houthis near Hudaydah

The draft resolution also “requests Member States, particularly neighbouring States, to support the United Nations as required for the implementation of UNMHA’s mandate.”

A military coalition led by neighbouring Saudi Arabia intervened in Yemen in 2015 to back government forces. The UN and Western countries have criticized the coalition for killing a large number of civilians, including children.

The Gulf states accuse Iran of supplying arms to the Houthis, a charge Tehran and the group denied.

A Security Council resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by Britain, the United States, Russia, France or China to pass. Diplomats said the Yemen draft is expected to be adopted.

In his Dec. 31 proposal to the council, seen by Reuters, Guterres described the proposed 75-strong team as “a nimble presence” to monitor compliance of the deal and establish and assess facts and conditions on the ground.

“Appropriate resources and assets will also be required to ensure the safety and security of UN personnel, including armoured vehicles, communications infrastructure, aircraft and appropriate medical support,” Guterres wrote.

“Such resources will be a prerequisite for the effective launch and sustainment of the proposed mission,” he said.

Guterres said the larger monitoring mission would contribute to sustaining a “fragile political process” relaunched by UN Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths. Griffiths is aiming to convene another round of talks between the warring parties this month.