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Thursday 20 June 2019

Yemen’s warring sides agree ceasefire for Red Sea port

The agreement was reached following peace talks in Sweden.

Houthi rebels have been fighting against Saudi-backed government forces (Hani Mohammed/AP)
Houthi rebels have been fighting against Saudi-backed government forces (Hani Mohammed/AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

Yemen’s warring sides have agreed to a ceasefire covering the Red Sea port of Hodeida following peace talks in Sweden.

The United Nations secretary general said the rival parties have also agreed to a withdrawal of troops from the contested city.

Antonio Guterres thanked the Yemeni delegations for what he called “an important step” and “real progress toward future talks to end the conflict”.

He spoke at the closing ceremony for the talks in the Swedish town of Rimbo.

Mr Guterres said to the Yemeni parties: “Thank you for coming here to discuss a better future for Yemen.”

He said that the next round of talks is planned for the end of January.

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the agreement (Mosa’ab Elshamy/AP)

The four-year civil war, which pits the internationally recognised Yemeni government, supported by a Saudi-led coalition, against the Iran-backed rebels known as Houthis, has made Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

According to the United Nations, 22 of its 29 million people are in need of aid. The two sides have for months been locked in a fight over Hodeida which is a key port for aid deliveries.

The UN-sponsored talks had low expectations for halting the conflict immediately, but saw some progress with the agreement of a prisoner swap to include 15,000 people at the start of the discussions last week.

Both sides have said they sought to build on goodwill for future talks, although it was unclear how far they have come in agreeing on a draft agreement given to them a day earlier to consider by UN envoy Martin Griffiths.

The document consists of a set of proposals, including one for a political framework for a post-war Yemen, the reopening of the airport in the capital, Sanaa, and a proposal for Hodeida, a lifeline for millions of Yemenis dependent on international aid.

Press Association

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