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U.N. to convene Yemen's warring parties by video on truce deal

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By Reuters
U.N. to convene Yemen's warring parties by video on truce deal
FILE PHOTO: People ride a motorbike on a street in Hodeidah, Yemen December 15, 2018. REUTERS/Abduljabbar Zeyad   -   Copyright  ABDULJABBAR ZEYAD(Reuters)

By Michelle Nichols

UNITEDNATIONS (Reuters) – The United Nations will convene Yemen’s warring parties by video link on Wednesday to discuss the redeployment of all forces from Hodeidah city and three ports under a ceasefire deal agreed last week, a U.N. spokesman said.

It will be the first meeting of a Redeployment Coordination Committee that oversees the ceasefire and withdrawal of forces, said U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

“It will include military/security representatives from the two sides,” Dujarric told reporters.

After a week of U.N.-sponsored peace talks in Sweden, the Iranian-aligned Houthi group and Saudi-backed Yemen government foes agreed last Thursday to cease fighting in the Red Sea city and withdraw forces. The truce began on Tuesday.

“The full mutual redeployment of all forces from the city of Hodeidah and the ports of Hodeidah, Saleef and Ras Isa shall be completed within a maximum period of 21 days after the cease-fire enters into force,” Dujarric said.

The committee will be chaired by retired Dutch Major General Patrick Cammaert who will leave New York later this week to travel to Yemen with a team.

The U.N. Security Council is considering a resolution that asks U.N. chief Antonio Guterres to submit proposals by the end of the month on how to monitor the ceasefire and redeployment of forces.

Diplomats said it would likely be voted on later this week.

The conflict has pushed Yemen, the poorest country on the Arabian Peninsula, to the verge of famine, and millions of people rely on food aid. More than 80 percent of Yemen’s imports used to come through Hodeidah port, but that has slowed to a trickle.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Alistair Bell)