U.N. envoy in Yemen for talks on Hodeida truce

SANAA, Yemen – The UN envoy for Yemen landed in rebel-held Sanaa Monday, January 21, for talks aimed at shoring up a truce between rebels and a government alliance in the port city of Hodeida.

Diplomat Martin Griffiths landed in the capital at around 10:30 am local time (1330 GMT), an official at Sanaa airport told Agence France-Presse on condition of anonymity.

A UN source confirmed the news, saying Griffiths was in Yemen to "work on the rapid implementation of the Hodeida agreement."

Griffiths hosted hard-won peace talks between Yemen's government, allied with a powerful Saudi-led regional military coalition, and Iran-backed Huthi rebels in Sweden last month.

Monday's visit marks Griffiths' second trip to Yemen this month.

Yemen's government coalition and rebels agreed to a ceasefire in Hodeida, the Red Sea city seized by the Huthis in 2014 and home to impoverished Yemen's most valuable port.

The Hodeida agreement stipulates the withdrawal and redeployment of rival forces from the city, two clauses that have yet to be fulfilled.

Rebel-held Hodeida was for months the main front line in the Yemen war after government forces supported by Saudi Arabia and its allies launched an offensive to capture it in June.

But a precarious calm has largely held in the city since a ceasefire agreement came into force on December 18.

The UN said a team tasked with monitoring the truce, led by chief monitor Patrick Cammaert, came under fire in Hodeida on Friday, January 18, but was unharmed.

The UN did not identify who was behind the shooting. – Rappler.com