UN tells Yemen parties to pull back from Hodeida

The UN security council warned in a unanimous statement that it will "monitor the parties' compliance with the redeployment plans" in Hodeida (pictured September 2016) (AFP Photo/STRINGER)

United Nations (United States) (AFP) - The UN Security Council on Thursday urged Yemen's government and Huthi rebels to pull back their forces from the key city of Hodeida "as soon as possible" in line with a ceasefire deal reached four months ago.

The council warned in a unanimous statement that it will "monitor the parties' compliance with the redeployment plans" as it awaits a report by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on whether the sides are upholding commitments.

The redeployment of forces was agreed in December under a ceasefire deal reached in Sweden that offered the best hope in years of moving toward an end to the war that has pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.

The council expressed "grave concern" that four months on, the agreements have not been implemented, but there was no threat of sanctions against those who are blocking the peace effort.

UN envoy Martin Griffiths told the council on Monday that the government and rebels had agreed to the operational details of the first long-delayed pullback of forces from Hodeida.

The United Nations announced a deal on the two-stage pullback from Hodeida city and its ports in February, but the redeployment failed to materialize on the ground and the peace effort has since stalled.