Truce in Yemen's Hodeida starts Tuesday: UN source

Truce in Yemen's Hodeida starts Tuesday: UN source
A UN official confirmed the truce in Yemen's embattled Hodeida city will begin on Tuesday.
2 min read
17 December, 2018
More than 10,000 people have been killed since 2015 [AFP]

The UN-brokered agreement to halt fighting in Yemen's Hodeida and its surroundings starts on Tuesday, a United Nations official told AFP on Monday, after renewed clashes in the flashpoint city over the weekend.

When asked if the ceasefire in Hodeida province starts midnight Monday, the UN official, who requested anonymity, said: "it is true".

The announcement of the ceasefire date follows Yemen's warring sides clinching a deal in Sweden on Thursday, under which an "immediate ceasefire" was to be implemented in Hodeida.

The UN source said the delay until 9pm GMT on Monday was necessary for "operational reasons".

Yemen's Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani, who led the government's delegation to the peace talks, told state-run television late on Sunday that the ceasefire takes effect at midnight Monday.

Residents in Hodeida and the surrounding areas have reported fierce fighting and air strikes in recent days, as clashes continued between Saudi-backed government forces and the Houthi rebels.

Fierce clashes and airstrikes left at least 29 fighters - including 22 Houthi rebels - killed in Hodeida province.

Seven rebels were captured during an attack on al-Durayhimi, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) south of Hodeida city, a local source told AFP.

Fighters from both sides were supposed to withdraw from the city, which is a key entry point for aid into the country.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned Sunday that "much worse" lay in store for Yemen in 2019 unless the peace deal is implemented.

A high number of Yemenis have been dying in "very dramatic circumstances" as a result of food shortages, he added.

"The fact that famine was not yet declared does not in any way diminish our huge concern with a very high level of hunger that exists in Yemen" and "people dying in very dramatic circumstances", said Guterres.

"Without peace, we will be facing in 2019 a much worse situation than today."

Anger at the human cost of the war in Yemen has also prompted a harder line in Congress about the US military's role in backing Saudi-led coalition strikes against Houthi rebels.

Western governments have pressed for an end to the war, which massively escalated when the Saudi-led alliance intervened in 2015 to restore the government of Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi after Houthis overran the capital.

The Sweden talks mark the first attempt in two years to broker an end to the Yemen conflict, which has killed more than 10,000 people - though rights groups say the actual figure is five times higher.

Some 14 million people are at imminent risk of starvation in Yemen, according to UN estimates.

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