A ceasefire agreement is due to take effect in and around Yemen’s western port city of Hodeida today. Hodeida has been under assault from
A ceasefire agreement is due to take effect in and around Yemen’s western port city of Hodeida today.
Hodeida has been under assault from the Saudi-led coalition and allied Hadi government forces since June. The port is a crucial gateway for supplies—humanitarian and otherwise. Its loss would be a serious blow to the Houthis, who control vast swathes of west Yemen but few ports, and also risk thousands of civilian lives.
The agreement is the major outcome from last week’s UN-brokered talks. The warring Hadi government and Houthi rebels also agreed to exchange some 15,000 prisoners by January 20 and to reopen the international airport in the capital Sana’a.
If successfully implemented, the ceasefire could prove the game changer. Under the watchful eye of UN monitors, fighters from both sides have agreed to withdraw from the Hodeida Governate by January 8.
With the next round of talks expected in mid-January, a sustained ceasefire could form the basis for a more lasting peace arrangement.
In addition to this, Western and domestic pressure on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the Khashoggi killing may well push Riyadh to seek an end to the costly four-year conflict in a bid to quell ruptures with important partners, particularly in the United States.
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