Head of UN monitors arrives in Yemen’s rebel-held Sanaa

Sanaa: The head of the UN team tasked with monitoring a fragile ceasefire in Yemen’s port city of Hodeida arrived in the rebel-held capital of Sanaa on Sunday, an AFP photographer said.

Retired Dutch general Patrick Cammaert is heading a joint committee including members of the government and the Huthi rebels, in charge of monitoring a truce in the Red Sea city and its surroundings.

Cammaert was greeted by head of the Huthi delegation, Ali al-Mushki, and a number of other members of the UN team at Sanaa international airport. He did not comment upon arrival.

He is making a stop in Sanaa before heading to Hodeida, a lifeline port city that serves as the entry point for the majority of imports to war-torn Yemen, a UN official said, after holding talks Saturday with Yemen government officials in Aden.

On Saturday, Cammaert urged the government and the Saudi-led coalition backing the loyalists to uphold the ceasefire that came into effect last week, said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

He also “sought their commitment and cooperation to secure the unhindered flow of humanitarian aid”, said Dujarric, adding that Cammaert will “convey similar messages” to the Huthis in Sanaa.

On Friday, the UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution authorising the deployment of observers to Hodeida, which is held by the rebels and has been subjected to an offensive by pro-government forces.

A halt to fighting in the strategic port city follows intense diplomatic efforts which culminated in peace talks earlier this month in Sweden, where the warring parties agreed to the truce which came into force on Tuesday.

The ceasefire remained shaky, however, with both sides accusing each other of violations in Hodeida province.

The UN monitoring team aims to secure the functioning of Hodeida port and supervise the withdrawal of fighters from the city.

The text approved by the Security Council “insists on the full respect by all parties of the ceasefire agreed” for Hodeida.

It authorises the United Nations to “establish and deploy, for an initial period of 30 days from the adoption of this resolution, an advance team to begin monitoring” the ceasefire, under Cammaert’s leadership.

Around 10,000 people have been killed since the Saudi-led intervention, according to the World Health Organization, although rights groups say the death toll could be five times higher.

The conflict has unleashed a major humanitarian crisis and pushed 14 million Yemenis to the brink of famine.

[source_without_link] AFP[/source_without_link]