On 16 May 2019, Maja Kocijančič, Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy at the European External Action Service (EEAS), released a statement on the situation in Yemen concerning the implementation of the December 2018 Stockholm Agreement.
On 11 May 2019, the Iran-aligned Houthi group has begun a unilateral pull-out from the ports of Saleef, Ras Isa and Hodeidah, handing them over to UN-supervised local forces as agreed under with the Saudi-backed government dated last December. During these months, negotiations were in deadlock as there was no agreement reached between the two sides.
Hodeidah, the main entry point for Yemen’s commercial and aid imports, became the focus of the four-year conflict when the Saudi-led coalition tried twice to seize the port to cut off the Houthis’ main supply line.
The war has devastated Yemen’s economy, exacerbating an urgent humanitarian crisis with millions of Yemenis on the brink of starvation. The redeployment would enable the UN to take a leading role in supporting Red Sea Ports Corporation in managing the ports and enhance UN checks on cargoes. It would also allow reopening humanitarian corridors.
On 16 May 2019, the spokesperson of the European External Action Service (EEAS) welcomed a first unilateral withdrawal of Houthi forces from the three Red Sea ports, including Hodeidah. This withdrawal is declared effective by the United Nations Mission for the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA). This is the first sign of tangible progress towards the implementation of the December 2018 Stockholm Agreement in Yemen which is supported by the European Union. The statement remarks that this is a crucial step to achieve inclusive political negotiations that could lead to the end of the war and the establishment of a sustainable peace.
The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) welcomes the statement released by the Spokesperson. We call upon the international community to foster the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement, the main first step towards the achievement of a peaceful solution to the war.