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article imageUN to vote Wednesday on Yemen observer mission

By AFP     Jan 15, 2019 in World

The United Nations Security Council is expected to approve on Wednesday a six-month observer mission to monitor a ceasefire in Yemen and oversee a pullback of forces, diplomats said.

The council will vote at 9:30 am (1430 GMT) on a British-drafted resolution authorizing the deployment of up to 75 monitors, and diplomats said they expected the measure to be approved.

The unarmed monitors would be sent to the rebel-held city of Hodeida and its port along with the ports of Saleef and Ras Issa for an initial period of six months.

The port of Hodeida is the entry point for the bulk of Yemen's supplies of imported goods and humanitarian aid.

Talks between the Saudi-backed government and Huthi rebels last month in Sweden on ending the devastating war led to an agreement on the observer force.

A first group of about 20 monitors was authorized by the council last month to begin work in Yemen, but their mandate expires on January 20.

The draft resolution calls on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to "expeditiously" deploy the United Nations Mission to support the Hodeida Agreement (UNMHA), led by retired Dutch General Patrick Cammaert.

The UN says a ceasefire that went into force on December 18 in Hodeida has been generally holding, but there have been delays in the redeployment of rebel and government forces from the city.

The Huthis control most of Hodeida while government forces are deployed on its southern and eastern outskirts.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday accused the rebels of failing to comply with the Hodeida truce agreement, after he held talks in Riyadh with Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Since the Saudi-led military coalition intervened in support of the government in March 2015, the conflict has unleashed what the UN calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Nearly 10 million people in Yemen are on the brink of famine, according to UN aid officials, while 80 percent of the population -- 24 million people -- are in dire need of humanitarian aid.

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