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Rebels set to begin pullout from Yemen aid port

AFP  |  Sanaa 

Yemeni rebels confirmed Saturday they were beginning a unilateral withdrawal from the port of in a bid to kickstart implementation of a December truce brokered by the UN.

is the main entry point for the bulk of Yemen's imports and humanitarian aid, providing a to millions of civilians who have been pushed to the brink of famine by more than four years of devastating conflict.

The of the rebels' Supreme Revolutionary Committee, Mohammed al-Huthi, said fighters would start pulling back at 10 am (0700 GMT).

He said the rebels had been forced to act unilaterally after the Saudi-backed government repeatedly delayed a parallel pullback from parts of the city of that it had pledged to make under the truce deal.

"The (rebel) army and committees are withdrawing unilaterally as a result of the refusal of the of the US-British-Saudi-Emirati aggression and their allies to implement the (Stockholm) accord," the rebel leader said on

The announced late Friday that the rebels will begin a long-delayed withdrawal from Hodeida and two other ports on Saturday, the first step on the ground since the ceasefire deal was struck in

The withdrawal of rebel forces will be completed by Tuesday, the of the UN redeployment committee, Michael Lollesgaard, said in a statement.

A UN observer mission led by Lollesgaard will monitor the withdrawal.

The of the internationally recognised government, Moammer al-Eryani, welcomed the UN announcement but warned the rebels might be trying to "mislead" the international community.

"We welcome any measures towards the implementation of the agreement on redeployment in ports in Hodeida province and warn of attempts by the militia to mislead the international community and the (UN) before the next meeting," Eryani tweeted.

He said any unilateral redeployment by the rebels without control and joint verification "cannot be accepted."

Lollesgaard welcomed the rebel plan "to undertake an initial unilateral redeployment from the ports of Hodeida, Saleef and Ras Issa.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, May 11 2019. 13:41 IST