Yemen rebels boycott meeting with UN-led truce monitors

SANAA (AFP) -Yemeni rebels yesterday boycotted a meeting chaired by the head of a United Nations (UN)-led ceasefire monitoring team in the flashpoint city of Hodeida, accusing him of pursuing “other agendas”.

Retired Dutch general Patrick Cammaert is leading a joint committee, which includes both government and rebel representatives, tasked with overseeing a truce in the Red Sea port city and the withdrawal of both parties.

Huthi rebel negotiator Mohammed Abdelsalam said Cammaert “steered from the course of the agreement by implementing other agendas”.

“If (UN envoy to Yemen Martin) Griffiths does not address the issue, it is going to be difficult to discuss any other matter,” he said on Twitter without elaborating. An AFP photographer said that the Huthi representatives did not take part in the committee meeting in Hodeida yesterday.

The UN declined to comment.

Clashes erupted between Huthi rebels and government forces in Hodeida last Saturday, dealing a new blow to the fragile truce.

The UN has said the truce has largely held since it came into force on December 18 but there have been delays in the agreed pullback of rebel and government forces.

The Huthis control most of Hodeida while government forces are deployed on the southern and eastern outskirts.

File photo shows Yemeni pro-government forces at the eastern entrance to the port city of Hodeida. – AFP