UN extends Yemen monitor mission by six months

UN monitors hold a joint meeting with representatives of the Yemeni government and the Huthi rebels on a vessel off the Red Sea port city of Hodeida (AFP Photo/-)

United Nations (United States) (AFP) - The UN Security Council voted unanimously Monday to extend its ceasefire observation mission in the Yemeni port city of Hodeida by six months, until January 15 2020.

It also called on Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to deploy a full contingent of observers "expeditiously" in the mission, which is mandated to have 75 staff but currently only has 20 on the ground.

The text adopted on Monday stressed that the UN mission should "monitor the compliance of the parties to the ceasefire in Hodeida governorate and the mutual redeployment of forces from the city of Hodeida and the ports of Hodeida, Salif and Ras Issa."

The monitors should work with the parties so that the security of the area "is assured by local security forces in accordance with Yemeni law."

It also called on all parties involved in the Hodeida Agreement to support UN efforts by ensuring the safety of the monitors and affording all personnel and supplies swift and unfettered movement.

Under the agreement made in Stockholm at the end of 2018, all warring factions were supposed to have withdrawn their troops from the strategic port city in western Yemen, but that pullback has been long delayed owing to lingering distrust between Yemeni government forces and the Huthi rebels.

Last month, Huthi rebels balked at providing visas for UN observers stationed off the coast on board a UN vessel.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the civil war since the Saudi-led military coalition intervened in support of the beleaguered Yemeni government in March 2015, according to the World Health Organization.

Another 3.3 million people have been forced to flee their homes.