A coast guard walks past a ship docked at the Red Sea port of Hodeida Image Credit: Reuters

Cairo: The Yemeni government has called on UN observers to strictly enforce a faltering peace deal sealed with Iran-allied Al Houthi militia a year ago for a ceasefire in the western port city of Hodeida, officials said on Thursday.

The call was made at a meeting of a UN-led redeployment coordination committee aboard a UN vessel in the Red Sea.

Attending the two-day talks, which started on Wednesday, were representatives from the internationally-recognised government and Al Houthis.

At the meeting, led by head of the UN mission in Hodeida, General Abhijit Goha, the government delegation underlined the importance of defining the concept of force withdrawals and reopening humanitarian corridors in the city, the officials said.

“The government team expressed sorrow over the Al Houthi militia’s continued siege of the UN mission and breaches,” spokesman for the Yemeni troops in the Western Coast, Wadah Al Dabeesh said, according to Saudi newspaper Asharq Al Awsat.

The government delegation also insisted on the UN observers check Al Houthis’ violations of the Hodeida accord on the ground, he added.

Hodeida is strategically important because of its key port through which most Yemen’s imports and aid enter.

In December 2018, the government and Al Houthis signed a UN-brokered agreement on a ceasefire in Hodeida at peace talks near the Swedish capital Stockholm. The deal, initially seen as a breakthrough, has since bogged down over the militia’s recalcitrance.

Yemen’s conflict erupted after Al Houthis unseated the internationally recognised government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi and overran parts of the country, including Sana’a in late 2014.

In 2015, an Arab alliance co-led by the UAE and Saudi Arabia, intervened in Yemen in response to a request from the Hadi government after Al Houthis advanced on the southern city of Aden, the country’s provisional capital.