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UN envoy hails progress in agreement for Yemen troops redeplo

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UNITED NATIONS, March 19 (Xinhua) -- The special UN envoy for Yemen reported "significant progress" toward an agreement between warring parties to withdraw troops in the region of the key port of Hodeidah, a UN spokesman said on Tuesday.

UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Yemen Martin Griffiths, following constructive discussions with both the government and the Houthi rebels, reported "significant progress towards an agreement to implement phase one of the redeployments of the Hodeidah agreement," said Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

"Operational details will be presented to the parties in the Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) for endorsement shortly," Haq told reporters at a regular briefing.

The redeployment of troops from the city and port of Hodeidah and other two minor ports, Saleef and Ras Isa, is part of the Stockholm Agreement the two sides reached in December 2018 under UN auspices. The deal also includes a ceasefire across the Hodeidah governorate.

In February, the two parties agreed on the first phase of the redeployment, which calls for withdrawal of forces from the three ports as well as the Red Sea mills, where enough grain is stored to feed 3.7 million people in the starving country.

So far, the agreement has not been materialized. Farhan told Xinhua that possible violations of the shaky ceasefire may result in the accord not being implemented.

Apparently, Griffiths is more confident of implementing the accord, the spokesman said.

Humanitarian workers have not been able to get aid through the ports because of the fighting in surrounding areas.

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