Dec 18, 2018 13:02 UTC
  • A militant loyal to Yemen’s former Saudi-backed regime walks with a rifle in the Ansarullah-held Red Sea port city of Hudaydah
    A militant loyal to Yemen’s former Saudi-backed regime walks with a rifle in the Ansarullah-held Red Sea port city of Hudaydah

Fighting has subsided in Yemen’s Hudaydah, hours after a United Nations (UN)-brokered ceasefire between warring sides took effect in the flashpoint port city.

The truce was reached last week in Sweden during peace talks between delegations from Yemen’s Ansarullah movement and the former, Saudi-allied regime, on whose behalf a Saudi-led coalition has been pounding Yemen since March 2015.

The ceasefire took force at midnight on Monday. And while sporadic clashes and Saudi-led airstrikes continued to hit Hudaydah for several hours after midnight, they subsequently died down.

On Tuesday, a military source loyal to Yemen’s former Saudi-backed regime said that the situation was calm in the Red Sea port city. “There has been complete calm since 03:00 a.m. Yemen time (1200 GMT) in the city of Hudaydah,” he said.

Hudaydah residents also confirmed a halt in fighting between pro-Saudi militants and Ansarullah movement and the revolutionaries’ fighters.

The truce is expected to be followed by the withdrawal of forces from both sides and the deployment of UN monitors to the port as well as a mass prisoner exchange.

On Sunday, UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths said that the world body was working with Yemen’s warring parties to ensure that the ceasefire was “implemented timely and properly.”

UN considering draft resolution to back truce

Separately, diplomats said that the UN Security Council was considering a draft resolution that would ask Secretary General Antonio Guterres to put forward proposals by the end of the month on how to monitor the Hudaydah ceasefire.

Britain circulated the motion among the Security Council’s 15 members on Monday, but it was not clear when it would be put to a vote.

The draft, seen by Reuters, asks Guterres to submit proposals on “how the United Nations will support the Stockholm Agreement as requested by the parties, including, but not limited to, monitoring operations for the ceasefire and mutual redeployment of forces from the city of Hudaydah and the ports of Hudaydah, Salif and Ras Issa.”

The draft resolution further “calls on all parties to the conflict to take further steps to facilitate the unhindered flow of commercial and humanitarian supplies including food, fuel, medicine and other essential imports and humanitarian personnel into and across the country.”

Hudaydah, a lifeline for millions of Yemeni people, is the entry point for most of the country’s commercial goods and vital aid. The port has seen some of the heaviest fighting in the Saudi-led war on Yemen.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) launched an offensive against Hudaydah in June but have faced strong resistance from Yemeni armed forces — led by the Houthis — as well as the city’s residents.