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article imageSaudis and Houthis reach a deal on the port of Hodeidah in Yemen

By Ken Hanly     Jul 16, 2019 in Politics
Hodeida - Houthi and Saudi representatives have within the last 48 hours reached an agreement on board a UN ship in the Red Sea, according to UN officials. The deal would see the ceasefire at the port of Hodeidah enforced.
Ceasefire deal reached last year but not implemented
A ceasefire with troop withdrawals was negotiated last year, but failed to be completed as a May 11 article in the Guardian notes: "Yemen’s Houthi movement has begun unilaterally moving its forces out of key ports, the first practical progress under a ceasefire deal agreed last year. The retreat from areas in and around western Hodeidah was agreed at talks in Sweden in December but stalled over a lack of trust between two sides in the war. Both were meant to withdraw their fighters, leaving the United Nations to monitor shipments through the ports in Hodeidah. Shipments unloaded there provide a vital humanitarian lifeline to millions of Yemenis who now rely on aid to survive."
The Houthis have handed over the port to local groups, but getting the Saudi-led troops out of the area has been a problem except for the UAE troops as the UAE has willingly reduced it presence in Yemen as described in a report from the Middle East Monitor.
The new deal involves several rounds of de-escalation as well as new measures to enforce the ceasefire. Both sides agreed on a timetable for troop withdrawals from the area.
Hodeidah crucial to getting aid into Yemen
Hodeidah is Yemen's largest and most important port and as mentioned is crucial to getting aid into the country many of whose residents are starving or on the verge of it. The country has was also hit by a cholera epidemic as reported in September of 2017: "Yemen’s cholera outbreak has infected 612,703 people and killed 2,048 since it began in April, and some districts are still reporting sharp rises in new cases, data from the World Health Organization and Yemen’s health ministry showed on Tuesday."
Mark Lowcock of the UN described the humanitarian crisis in Yemen as "the worst crisis of all with 24 million people, 75 percent of the population, in need of humanitarian assistance."
The deal on the port of Hodeidah will ensure that any aid that is donated will be able to get through to Yemenis who need it.
Yemen imports over 90 percent of its food as most of the country is desert and cannot produce enough local supplies. Most of the imported food during the war comes through Hodeidah especially for the northern area controlled by the Houthis.
More about Saudi arabia, Yemen War, Hodeidah
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