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UN to report Tuesday on rebel withdrawals from 3 Yemen ports

UN to report Tuesday on rebel withdrawals from 3 Yemen ports

"We all know that since December 18, the Houthi militias have not implemented the Stockholm agreement, especially the provisions of the city of Hodeidah, which includes... handing over of the Yemeni ports in Hodeidah, Saleef and Ras Issa to the government", al-Maliki said.

Sources close to the Huthis said that the ports were handed over to coastguard personnel who were in charge before the rebels took over nearly five years ago.

An AFP photographer at Saleef port saw Huthi troops leave the facility, and men dressed in coastguard uniforms enter, adding that these movements were observed by the UN.

The governor of Hodeida, Al-Hasan Taher, said Saturday the insurgents were merely reshuffling personnel.

Under the United Nations plan, Houthis should make an "initial unilateral redeployment" between May 11 and May 14 from the ports of Saleef, which is used for grain, and Ras Isa, used for oil, as well as the country's main port of Hodeidah.

Mine clearance around the ports should facilitate the safe delivery of food assistance to Yemen, said UN Development Programme, which will now work to re-open the ports.

"Furthermore", the Lt. Gen. continued, "this unilateral redeployment should allow for establishing a UN leading role in supporting the Red Sea Ports Corporation in managing the ports", as well as for enhancing the UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism (UNVIM), in accordance with the Agreement.

Its head, General Michael Lollesgaard, welcomed the handover "of the security of the ports to the coastguard", according to a United Nations statement.

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The UN Security Council is due to hear a briefing on Hodeida on Wednesday.

More than 70 percent of Yemen's imports used to pass through the docks of Hudaydah, a lifeline for the war-ravaged country's crippled economy.

The head of the rebels' Supreme Revolutionary Committee, Mohammed Ali al-Huthi, pledged that fighters would start pulling back at 10:00 am (0700 GMT) in a bid to restart the stalled ceasefire deal with the government.

Yemen's government on Sunday accused rebels of a "policy of deception" after they announced a pullout from a string of Red Sea ports in a long-delayed move agreed under a ceasefire deal a year ago.

The country's bloody civil war erupted in September 2014, when Shiite Houthi rebels swept into the capital city of Sanaa.

But although the violence has largely stopped in Hodeida, there have been intermittent clashes and the promised redeployment of the warring parties away from the front lines has failed to materialize.

Yemen's information minister accused the rebels of faking the pullout.

The rebels' Health Ministry said in a statement an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition killed six children and a woman in the district of Qaaraba. The U.N. -brokered agreement is aimed at alleviating the world's worst humanitarian crisis.