Published: Wed, December 12, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Yemen's Saudi-backed government rejects United Nations troops in Hodeidah city

Yemen's Saudi-backed government rejects United Nations troops in Hodeidah city

Earlier Monday, a proposal was reportedly floated for the Houthis to withdraw, and for a joint commitee to be established between the warring parties to control Hodeida.

He said at a press conference in Sweden - where the talks were in their fifth day - that he hoped to publish "detailed, ambitious and tangible" confidence-building proposals in the next few days, including plans for the future administration of the city and port of Hodeidah.

The Saudi-UAE coalition has accused Iran of smuggling weapons through Hodeidah's port, a charge Tehran and the rebels deny.

Displays of affection between the delegates - including an incident in which a Houthi representative kissed the hand of government official in the castle's media centre - have raised hopes that real progress towards might be made.

The talks mark the first negotiations between both sides in over two years and are a milestone in the pursuit of peace for Yemen's 29 million people.

"We are keen on the opening of Sanaa airport, and we demand the opening of Sanaa airport ... but we are looking into who will supervise Sanaa airport", said Abdulaziz Jabari, a presidential advisor and member of a Yemeni government delegation at the talks.

The rebel delegation said it has provided its own list of prisoners held by the government.

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The Yemeni government, which claims its forces are only 3km from the port, insists that it will only accept that the UN's role be to oversee the harbour. A prisoner swap has however been agreed between the two parties. The civil war has killed at least 10,000 people, though the figure is believed to be higher, and turned Yemen into one of world's worst humanitarian crises with 22 million of its 29 million people in need of aid, according to the United Nations. We know about the Yemen's fruitless peace talks.

Among the issues under discussion are potential humanitarian corridors, a prisoner swap, the reopening of the defunct Sanaa global airport, and Hodeida, the rebel-held city at the heart of an ongoing government offensive.

Although a stalemate over the port of Hodeidah and Sanaa airport continues, the two groups are taking baby steps towards conflict resolution.

However, the government is willing to accept the deployment of monitors from the U.N. Verification and Inspection Mechanism (UNVIM) in the port, the entry point for most of Yemen's commercial goods and aid supplies.

United Nations envoy Griffiths said he hoped the swap "will be very very considerable in terms of the numbers that we hope to get released within a few weeks".

Western governments have pressed for an end to the war, which massively escalated when the Saudi-led alliance intervened in 2015 to restore the government of Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi after Iran-backed Houthis overran the capital. He would like to see the airport opened to global flights, humanitarian access in the cities of Hodeidha and Taiz, a mass prisoner release programme and economic reforms created to shore up the Yemeni currency.

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