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UN to hold Yemen talks on port revenues

The Houthis agreed to begin a withdrawal from the ports (AFP)

Date of publication: 14 May, 2019

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UN officials will meet with Yemen's government and Houthi rebels in Amman on Tuesday to discuss managing revenues from Red Sea ports.

UN officials will meet with Yemen's government and Houthi rebels in Amman on Tuesday to discuss managing revenues from Red Sea ports after the Houthis agreed to pull out of those facilities.

The meeting in Jordan comes as a UN mission is to verify the redeployment of the rebels from the ports of Hodeida, Saleef and Ras Issa. 

The talks will focus on using revenues form the ports to pay public sector salaries in Hodeida province and throughout the country, a UN statement said.

Most of Yemen's public workers have gone unpaid for months as the country's finances and economy collapsed in the war, which has dragged on for at least four years.

The Houthis agreed to begin a withdrawal from the ports on Saturday, turning over control to a coast guard to ensure security at those facilities.

The government says the coast guard is close to the Houthi militias.

The United Nations has brushed aside government complaints that the withdrawal was flawed, insisting that it was proceeding as planned.

"This is redeployment activity that's being monitored and verified by the United Nations, and it is going according to procedure," UN spokesman Farhan Haq said. 

"I'm well aware that there are contradictory points of opinions from the opposing sides."

Hodeida is the main entry point for the bulk of Yemen's imports and humanitarian aid, providing a lifeline to millions of people who are on the brink of famine. 

If the redeployment is confirmed, it could provide a boost to UN efforts to end the war in Yemen, which has triggered the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

A Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to push back an advance by the rebels, who continue to hold the capital Sanaa, and to restore to power President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

The conflict has killed tens of thousands people, many of them civilians, relief agencies say. 

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