Houthis Offer Own Interpretation of Sweden Deal to Visiting UN Officials in Sanaa

Amid an escalation in attacks by the Houthi militias against legitimate government positions in southern Hodeidah, the Iran-backed militants informed UN officials in Sanaa Thursday that they wanted to maintain their security presence in the city and its ports, in defiance of the Sweden deal.

Informed political sources in Sanaa said high-ranking officials from the coup government held a meeting with director of the office of UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths and Jens Toyberg-Frandzen, deputy of Michael Lollesgaard, the head of the UN observer mission.

The Houthis informed the UN officials that they “refuse to deal with any redeployment plan in Hodeidah and its three ports if it means an end to their security and administrative presence in the city,” the sources told Asharq Al-Awsat. 

“Houthi leaders also informed the UN officials they would resort to a military confrontation to consolidate their presence in Hodeidah, including recapturing the Red Sea Mills that are currently held by the legitimate government,” they added.

The Houthis have again presented to the UN officials their own interpretation of the Sweden agreement, which was reached with the legitimate government in December.

“Houthis informed them that the redeployment of forces, as stipulated in the agreement, does not mean handing the city and its three ports to legitimate government forces,” the sources said. 

They instead explained that the current pro-Houthi local authorities controlling the port city actually represent the Yemeni law referred to in the Stockholm deal and not the legitimate government. 

Griffiths had held talks this week with the warring Yemeni parties in his “last chance” effort to save the Sweden ceasefire dead, which calls for redeploying their forces from the port city of Hodeidah.