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Security Council votes to send cease-fire observers to Yemen

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United Nations Security Council members vote 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 UN Security Council on Friday voted unanimously to send a civilian observer mission to Yemen to monitor a fragile truce in the strategic Red Sea port of Hodeidah and supervise the departure of combatants.

The Britain-drafted resolution was adopted by all 15 council members after a week of tough negotiations. The text also endorsed the results of recent peace talks in Sweden aimed at ending the four-year-long conflict.

Britain’s UN Ambassador Karen Pierce praised the council’s unanimity “on this very important issue that affected so many millions of citizens in Yemen today.”

“The most important matter now is that we turn to urgent implementation,” she said. “It’s vital that the parties follow through on their commitments to pave the way for a formal relaunch of (peace) negotiations, and at the same time deliver real improvements on the ground that make a tangible difference to ordinary Yemenis.”

That revised draft resolution was approved for all 15 Security Council members.


It authorizes UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “to establish and deploy, for an initial period of 30 days ... an advance team to begin monitoring and to support and facilitate the immediate implementation of the Stockholm agreement.”

It also endorses the truce agreement, a prisoner exchange agreement, and a “statement of understanding” aimed at reducing fighting in the central city of Taiz.

The resolution requests Guterres to submit proposals “as soon as possible before Dec. 31” on how the United Nations will fully support the cease-fire, the redeployment of the rival forces from the Hodeida area and other provisions in the accord.

The agreement also included a planned prisoner swap involving some 15,000 detainees.

Welcoming the resolution, Saudi Arabia’s deputy permanent representative at the UN, Dr. Khaled Manzalawi, said the resolution confirmed “the success of the military pressure by the coalition and the Saudi diplomatic efforts in forcing the Houthis to withdraw from Hodeidah.” 

The resolution, he said, granted the UN the right to deploy a team to monitor the cease-fire in Hodeidah, which will reduce Houthis’ room for maneuver and prevent their obstructive attempts and repetitive violations in the past.

The UN Security Council resolution “insists on the full respect by all parties of the cease-fire agreed” for Hodeidah.

The UN envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, had urged rapid deployment of UN monitors as "an essential part of the confidence" needed to help implement the Dec. 13 cease-fire agreement between Yemen's government and Houthi militia reached in Stockholm, Sweden.
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