Hodeidah Agreement Yemen
UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths said the military escalation was contrary to the ceasefire agreement and that “the spirit of the ongoing negotiations, supported by the United Nations, is aimed at a national ceasefire, humanitarian and economic action and the resumption of the political process.” Nicolas de Riviere (France) recalled the Council`s decision earlier this week to extend UNMHA`s mandate by six months and said that the mission`s presence on the ground and its increasing operationalization were “a good thing”. It is the arrogance of the parties to ensure their safety and freedom of movement. He said that the Special Envoy`s efforts were all the more important in the context of the deteriorating regional security environment, which could undermine the willingness of the parties to implement the Stockholm agreement and reach a political agreement. Condemning recent Houthi attacks as unacceptable, he said all parties must refrain from any escalation of tensions. The military redistribution announced by the United Arab Emirates could be an opportunity for de-escalation while helping to find a political solution. He called on the parties to facilitate the implementation of the humanitarian aid plan in Yemen and said it was more important than ever to protect civilians, especially women and children, as well as humanitarian workers. Second, as much as the strategic ambiguity used in the agreement has been problematic, it is also increasingly evident that it is part of a broader plan to normalize the role of the Houthis. Whose “local security forces” and “central bank branch” should collect revenues in Hodeida was left unspecified in the agreement and remains unresolved, requiring greater “flexibility” according to Griffiths. If any observer were to step back and look at the chain of events the UN envoy has helped put in motion, however, they would doubtdoubt see a pattern: the normalization of the Houthis. In a December article in The Washington Post, Peter Salisbury, a British journalist close to UK Ambassador to Yemen Michael Aron, wrote that the Hodeida deal was “meant to prevent the situation in Yemen from getting any worse rather than making it better.” Peter is right in that the intention of the agreement has been to normalize the status quo by preventing a significant change in the balance of power in favor of coalition-backed forces given Hodeida`s importance on economic and security grounds. The ports at Hodeida are essential given that Yemen connects overwhelmingly on imports of food and other key commodities, most of which generate money via taxes and tariffs. In addition, the Houthis have allegedly also used the ports for other purposes, like smuggling military equipment. David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), updated the Council on its decision on 20 June to partially suspend aid to Sanaa due to the diversion of shipments.
He said he was assured this morning that an agreement with Ansar Allah was within reach. Regarding the crisis, he said that more than two-thirds of Yemen`s population – 20 million people – now live in a state of food insecurity. WFP hopes to step up efforts to reach 12 million people by August. “But I must say that we are reaching the point where no amount of money in the world will truly alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people. We can`t give up. We owe them nothing less,” he said. The commitments set out in the Stockholm agreement were made in three parts: the Hodeidah agreement, the Taz agreement and a prisoner exchange agreement. Together, these companies have committed parties to (1) a ceasefire in the city of Hodeidah and in the ports of Hodeidah, Salif and Ras Issa, as well as the redistribution of troops on both sides;  (2) opening of humanitarian corridors for the flow of aid through these ports;  and (3) a prisoner exchange aimed at freeing more than 15,000 prisoners and detainees.  The parties also agreed to conduct discussions on the creation of a humanitarian corridor for humanitarian assistance to Taz governorate.
 While Griffiths considers Hodeida “the gateway to the political process” to end Yemen`s four-year war, the agreement es poor design and the tracted, opaque process of implementation are not a promising basis for a credible peace process and an end to the conflict.