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Yemen government accepts UN proposal for Hodeida

Al Houthis reject proposal and ban UN envoy from entering Sana’a accusing him of ‘bias’

Gulf News

Al Mukalla: The internationally-recognised government of Yemen has accepted a proposal by the UN Special Envoy’s Esmail Ould Shaikh Ahmad during his recent regional tour stipulating an Al Houthi withdrawal from the western city of Hodeida and sending revenues from the city’s seaport to a neutral party in exchange for calling off an imminent military operation and the reopening of Sana’a airport.

Yemen’s permanent mission to the United Nations said in a statement that the government of president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi welcomed thes proposal and hailed Ould Shaikh Ahmad’s efforts to revive peace talks in Yemen.

“The Yemeni government confirms its full support to the proposals and ideas presented by the Special Envoy, and its readiness to discuss details of the proposals related to the arrangements for the withdrawal of the militias from the province of Hodeida,” the statement said.

As with previous UN brokered peace plan, the government said that the ideas should be a prelude to an agreement that honours the three references of peace talks including GCC initiative, its implementing mechanism, the outcome of the National Dialogue Conference and the UN Security Council resolution 2216.

These references oblige the rebel movement to fully pull out of cities under their control since September 2014, turn over arms and allow the internationally-recognised government to return to Sana’a.

Hadi’s government has long asked the Al Houthi movement to hand over the billions of riyals in revenues from Hodeida seaport, mobiles and banks to the central bank in Aden as to be able to pay salaries to tens of thousands of public servants who reside inside their territories.

The rebels rejected the UN envoy’s proposal. Analysts here believe that the rebels would lose an important source of finance that supports their military activities if they agreed to leave Hodeida.

They also said they would have no further dealings with him accusing him of “bias”.

The head of the rebel-installed Supreme Political Council, Saleh Al Samad, said he would no longer be allowed entry to rebel-held areas.

The envoy visited Sana’a last month in which he was mobbed by Al Houthi thugs and failed to secure any meetings with rebel representatives.

He had been trying to broker a ceasefire for the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan which began on May 27.

More than 8,000 people have been killed since an Al Houthi coup in 2014.

Saudi Arabia entered the war in 2015 leading a coalition of Arab states in order to restore the the legitimate government of Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

Meanwhile on the ground, government forces have made gains on Tuesday in the southern city of Taiz as Al Houthi intensive shelling kill two civilians. Local army commanders said that their forces seized control of a number of buildings close to the Special Security Forces camp after heavy clashes with Al Houthi fighters.

Earlier this week, government forces stormed a military camp and battled the rebels inside the city’s presidential palace. Residents said on Monday night that a shell fired by Al Houthis from the eastern suburbs of the city killed two civilians and injured two in Al Sawani district, south of Taiz. Hundreds of civilians have been killed in Al Houthi indiscriminate shelling on Taiz since early 2015.

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