Yemen's government to resume talks with the UN

Talks stopped after President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi accused special envoy Martin Griffiths of siding with Houthi rebels

Yemeni fighters loyal to the country's exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi ride a tank past a destroyed building during clashes with Shiite Huthi rebels in the country's third-city of Taez on May 30, 2019. Taez, in southern Yemen, is under siege by the Huthis but controlled by pro-government forces, who are supported by the military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. / AFP / Ahmad AL-BASHA
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The UN mission to Yemen, which is monitoring the withdrawal of forces from the port city of Hodeidah, is to resume talks with the government this week.

Communication had been frozen for weeks after President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi accused UN special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths of siding with the Houthi rebels.

Mr Hadi said the rebels had handed control of the port to forces loyal to them and that Mr Griffiths had turned a blind eye to it.

He said the withdrawal had been carried out without government oversight, which had been agreed to in the Stockholm agreement.

Yemen’s Vice President Ali Al Ahmar and Mr Griffiths met last Wednesday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, after which the government said the UN monitors could resume their work.

At this week’s meeting, Lt Gen Michael Lollesgaard, the head of the monitors, will meet representatives of the Yemeni government to review the Houthis' withdrawal from key ports, said Col Wathah Al Dubaish, spokesman for the Arab Coalition fighting the rebels.

A committee that represents the UN, the government and the rebels, will review procedures according to the Stockholm agreement and verify the removal of mines.

The agreement, reached in December between the government and the rebels, involves a prisoner swap, and freeing the airport in Sanaa and Hodeidah port.

The meeting will also address the divisive topic of who will handle ports security after the withdrawal has been completed.

Col Al Dubaish said on Saturday that the Red Sea Mills would be operational again within the next two weeks.

Houthi shelling damaged a silo and grain stocks at the mills last month.

“The facility’s administration informed us that 90 per cent of the maintenance works have been completed,” Col Al Dubaish said.

“A team from the World Food Programme is scheduled to visit the mills in the coming few days to check the works and decide exactly when the facility should be reopened.”

The Arab Coalition launched several air strikes against Houthis in Al Dhalea province in southern Yemen on Sunday, a military source on the ground said.

Five Houthi vehicles, a tank and other military equipment were destroyed.