Yemen gov't accuses rebels of violating Hodeida truce

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Yemen's embattled government accused rival rebels on Thursday, January 24, of failing to abide by a truce reached between the warring parties at UN-sponsored peace talks in Sweden last month.

"The legitimate government remains committed to the Sweden accords," state-run Saba news agency quoted Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi as saying.

Hadi accused Yemen's Huthi rebels of failing to respect an agreement on the flashpoint port city of Hodeida, controlled by the insurgents since 2014, Saba said.

The news comes as reports surface that the UN is looking to replace the head of a monitoring mission to Hodeida, a lifeline to millions of Yemenis dependent on its imports to survive.

The United Nations' Yemen envoy, Martin Griffiths, met with Hadi in Riyadh on Thursday, after holding talks with rebels in the Yemeni capital Sanaa.

Also at the Riyadh meeting was retired Dutch general Patrick Cammaert, who heads a monitoring team tasked with overseeing the Hodeida truce.

Diplomatic sources on Wednesday, January 23, said the UN was looking to replace Cammaert.

"In due time, he will leave. He is in this position until a successor is found," one of the sources told Agence France-Presse.

The Huthis, who control Hodeida, have accused Cammaert of not being up to the task and of pursuing "other agendas."

Cammaert and members of the UN monitoring team came under fire in Hodeida last week but were unharmed.

The United Nations did not identify who was behind the shooting.

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 the ceasefire agreement came into force on December 18.

The Hodeida agreement stipulates a full ceasefire, followed by the withdrawal and redeployment of rival forces from the city – two clauses that have yet to be fulfilled.

The Yemen conflict has killed some 10,000 people since a Saudi-led military coalition intervened in support of the beleaguered government in March 2015, according to the World Health Organization.

Human rights groups say the real death toll could be five times as high.

The war has pushed 14 million Yemenis to the brink of famine in what the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis. –