| 7 October 2022, Friday |

Yemen Asserts Need to Move UNMHA HQ to Neutral Zone

The Yemeni government reiterated the importance of moving the headquarters of the UN Mission to support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA) to a neutral zone after the mission became hostage to Houthi restrictions during the past years.

Yemeni political observers believe the mission, established under UN Security Council resolutions, is no longer important, especially after the authorities loyal to the legitimate government repositioned their forces outside the areas stipulated in the Stockholm Agreement.

Official sources stated that the Foreign Minister, Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, met in Aden with the head of UNMHA, General Michael Perry, to discuss the mission’s performance in light of recent developments in Hodeidah.

Saba news agency reported that the FM stressed the importance of improving the mission’s work and overcoming past mistakes, reiterating the need to move the mission’s headquarters to a neutral zone.

The Minister indicated that relocating UNMHA will free the mission from the restrictions imposed by the Houthi militia that limit its movement and obstruct its mandate.

During the meeting, bin Mubarak referred to the total violations committed by the Houthi militia in Hodeidah and its exploitation of the Stockholm Agreement to launch military aggression against the Maerib governorate.

He noted that Houthis use Hodeidah ports to launch military attacks, plant landmines, naval mines, and jeopardize maritime navigation.

Bin Mubarak believes the mission should be honest and transparent, adding that it must take clear positions regarding Houthis’ violations.

Sources stated that Perry confirmed he was ready to discuss any ideas to advance the mission’s work, noting that he would cooperate and address any issues.

The government team engaged in the Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) suspended its membership in the committee in March 2020 after the Houthi militia targeted the liaison officer for the government, Colonel Muhammad al-Sulaihi.

During an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdul-Malik described the Stockholm Agreement on Hodeidah in the wake of the recent developments as “practically clinically dead.”

Many observers believe the UN mission, which four generals have headed, has failed to implement any provision of the terms of the Stockholm Agreement regarding the redeployment of Hodeidah, especially with the city and its ports remaining under the militias’ control.

The Yemeni government accuses the UN mission of losing legitimacy and being controlled by the will of the Houthi militia. It indicated that Houthis use Hodeidah and its ports to smuggle weapons and threaten maritime navigation in the southern Red Sea.

The Stockholm Agreement was signed in December 2018. However, the UN has failed to pressure the Houthis to implement its provisions, and the militias continued to violate the truce.

The Yemeni government warned that Houthis’ violations led to the death and injury of thousands of civilians after the agreement entered into force.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat