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Ceasefire for Hodeidah agreed at peace talks: UN

LONDON: A ceasefire agreement has been reached with respect to the city of Hodeidah and its port, the Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres announced Thursday at a press conference at the end of peace talks on Yemen.
Guterres added that the agreement between Yemen’s warring parties included the deployment of neutral forces and the establishment of humanitarian corridors. A political framework will be discussed in a next round of meetings scheduled for January.

The withdrawal of armed forces from the Yemeni port of Hodeidah, a vital aid route caught up in the fighting, will happen "within days," UN Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths said.
"The design of the withdrawal is first from the three ports, within days, then from the city," Griffiths told reporters, referring to the Yemeni ports of Hodeidah, Salif, and, Ras Isa.
The pullout, which will open a road cutting across Hodeida crucial to humanitarian aid delivery, "has been agreed by both sides", Griffiths said.

Guterres also said that consensus has been reached regarding aid delivery to Taiz.

The Saudi ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Al-Jaber said that the agreement includes a Houthi withdrawal from Taiz and the release of thousands of detainees.
Mohammed Al-Jaber said the agreements, which have not been released to the public in full after talks in Sweden, required the Houthis "withdrawing from the city and port of Hodeidah, as well as Taiz, and the release of thousands of detainees and prisoners."

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash welcomed the agreement between Yemen's warring parties to a ceasefire in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah on Thursday.
"Encouraging news today from Sweden. Important political progress made including the status of Hodeidah. The Coalition & Yemeni forces' military pressure enabled this significant breakthrough," Gargash said in a tweet.

Yemen's Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Yamani and Houthi negotiator Mohammed Abdelsalam shook hands to loud applause at the close of UN-brokered peace talks in Sweden, as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and special envoy Martin Griffiths looked on smiling.

Al-Yamani welcomed the UN-backed agreement reached at peace talks in Sweden regarding the port city of Hodeidah.
But Yamani, speaking at the end of the talks near Stockholm, said he regretted that the consultations had not resulted in a significant agreement to improve Yemen's economy which has collapsed after nearly four years of war.

Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Prince Khalid bin Salman, welcomed the United Nations backed agreement between Yemen's warring parties to a ceasefire in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah on Thursday.
"The agreement announced today will help bring back security to the region including the security of the Red Sea, a vital water way for international trade," he said on his twitter account, adding that he hoped Iran-allied Houthis would stop "working on behalf of the Iranian regime’s interests".

Prince Khalid bin Salman added that the Kingdom welcomes the Hodeidah agreement and praises the UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths for his efforts. He continued by saying that the Houthi militia agreed to withdraw from Hodeidah after military pressure was applied.

Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed said that Saudi Arabia’s support will enable the government to overcome difficulties and restore stability in the country.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that the agreement between the “Yemeni Government and the Houthis is an important step towards ending the conflict in Yemen - the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today.”

“We have been working with the United Nations to bring the two sides in this terrible conflict together for the first time in years, including through constructive talks with key Saudis and Emiratis during my recent visits, and regular discussions with Oman.

UN chief Antonio Guterres led his mediators on Thursday in a last-minute push for a truce in Yemen's war as the Houthis and the government wrangled over Hodeidah port and Sanaa airport.
The warring parties have been in the rural Swedish village of Rimbofor UN-brokered talks, now in their seventh day, working for an agreement on key issues including a cessation.

Earlier, Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said the outcome of Yemen’s peace consultations will be conveyed to the UN Security Council on Friday.

The consultations, which started last week near Stockholm, took place in “positive spirit and good faith,” she said in a telephone interview with Reuters.

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