Yemen’s Houthi rebels will begin a withdrawal of their forces five kilometres from the key ports of Hodeida, Saleef, and Ras Isa, which are crucial lifelines for Yemen as many food, energy and aid products enter the country through them.
The drawdown of rebel forces is the first practical step taken by either side towards actualising a ceasefire deal that was reached between warring factions last December. The second step of the withdrawal plan involves both parties’ pulling their forces 18 kilometres outside of Hodeida, though a specific timeline on this part remains to be seen.
Regardless, the Yemeni government has decried the move as a ploy to distract the international community. Though the withdrawal is a step in the right direction towards conflict mediation, it remains on tenuous ground as both sides remain exceedingly sceptical of each other. Regardless, expect both sides to work to realise the first phase of withdrawals; with the UN Security Council meeting this week to discuss the conflict, both parties are looking to demonstrate their commitment to a UN-led solution and prove to be the more reliable and trustworthy faction.
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Max is Foreign Brief's Chief Executive Officer. A Latin America specialist, Max is an expert in regional political and economic trends, focusing particularly on the Southern Cone.