Warring Yemen parties agree to compromise on Hodeidah pullback

Yemen's government and Houthi rebels have agreed on a compromise for redeploying their forces from the port city of Hodeidah, the UN has said, shoring up a truce deal that marks the first step toward ending the devastating war. 

The pullback from Hodeidah was initially agreed under the ceasefire deal reached between the two sides in December in Sweden. 

The first phase of the redeployment from the ports of Hodeidah, Saleef, Ras Issa and from parts of the city where there are humanitarian facilities was scheduled to happen two weeks after the ceasefire went into force on 18 December.

But that deadline was missed as the government and Houthis haggled over the interpretation of the agreement.

Following three rounds of talks aboard a UN ship in Hodeidah's harbour, a proposal was put forward by Danish General Michael Lollesgaard, who heads a UN observer mission "that proved acceptable, in principle", said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric on Thursday. 

"A preliminary compromise was agreed, pending further consultation by the parties with their respective leaders," said Dujarric.

The two sides are to meet again next week to finalise details for the redeployment, if the compromise is endorsed by the Houthi and government leadership, the AFP news agency reported.