Yemen’s warring sides meet ‘aboard United Nations vessel’ over port city Hodeida

Yemen rivals meet on board vessel for talks on Hodeidah pullback

The meeting comes under the auspices of a United Nations' committee. Negotiations between the warring factions were first kicked off last February.

The UN head of the committee confirmed the meeting "aboard a UN vessel on the high seas", adding it would centre on "steps to implement" the Hodeida pullback plan.

Both parties were scheduled to discuss withdrawing their forces from Hodeidah, within a ceasefire deal that was reached last December in Stockholm.

In New York, the UN Security Council voted unanimously Monday to extend its ceasefire observation mission in Hodeida by six months, until January 15. Such a withdrawal was supposed to have been completed two weeks after the December ceasefire went into effect.

In May, the United Nations announced that the rebels had withdrawn from Hodeidah and two other nearby ports, the first practical step on the ground since the ceasefire deal.

The Houthis claimed in May to have redeployed their forces from the city's ports - an assertion rejected by the government as a "farce", accusing the rebels of simply handing their positions over to allied fighters.

The UN is attempting to mediate withdrawal from Hodeidah - the primary passage point for humanitarian and food aid - so UN-regulated administration can dominate.

The conflict in Yemen began with the 2014 takeover of the capital, Sanaa, by the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

On Monday, Griffith also met in Riyadh with Yemen s President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi - their first encounter since Hadi accused him in May of siding with the Huthi rebels.

Emirati pullout: A new chapter of the war in western Yemen? "Thus, for more than a year, the UAE has failed to control Al Hudaydah, while the Houthis are still monitoring the city's strategic port despite the fierce battles taking place in the area".

After the Houthi group advanced to the southern city of Aden in early 2015, an Arab military coalition involving Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates responded to a request for intervention by the overthrown Yemeni government.

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