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UNSC votes to send observers to Yemen

  • 21 Dec 2018

UN Security Council approves unanimously to send a civilian observer mission to monitor a fragile truce in Yemen's strategic Red Sea port of Hudaida and supervise departure of combatants.

UNSC members voted on a resolution about Yemen's security at UN headquarters in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, US, December 21, 2018. ( Reuters )

The United Nations Security Council on Friday unanimously approved the deployment of a UN advance team to monitor a ceasefire in Yemen's Hudaida region after days of wrangling that pitted the United States against ally Britain.

After a week of UN-sponsored peace talks in Sweden, the Houthi group and Saudi-backed Yemen government foes agreed last week to stop fighting in the Red Sea port city of Hudaida and withdraw forces. The truce began on Tuesday.

The Britain-drafted resolution was adopted by all 15 council members after a week of tough negotiations.

The Council authorised UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to deploy – for an initial 30 days – an advance team to begin monitoring and to support and facilitate the deal between the warring parties. 

Ceasefire agreement

A fragile ceasefire this week halted months of heavy fighting in Yemen's port city of Hudaida, through which the country imports 70 percent of its food and humanitarian aid. 

Yet residents reported shelling late on Tuesday, the first day of the truce, for nearly one hour on the eastern and southern outskirts of the Houthi-held Red Sea city, a lifeline for millions.

The agreement came during UN-sponsored talks in Sweden last week. 

A joint committee led by UN officers will oversee the cease-fire and the redeployment of the warring parties' forces out of Hudaida, which is currently controlled by the Houthis.

Local authorities and police will run the city and its three port facilities under UN supervision, and the two sides are barred from bringing in reinforcements.

'World's worst humanitarian crisis'

The war between the Houthi rebels and troops loyal to President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi escalated in 2015, when he fled into Saudi exile and the coalition intervened.

Since then, the war has killed some 10,000 people, according to the World Health Organization, although human rights groups say the real death toll could be five times as high.

The conflict has also pushed 14 million people to the brink of famine in what the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

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