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International community 'must ensure' fragile Yemen ceasefire holds

Clashes between government forces and Houthi rebels threaten to derail agreements [Getty]

Date of publication: 29 January, 2019

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The International Rescue Committee has said that world powers must ensure Yemen's government and Houthi rebels are adhering to terms agreed upon in Sweden in December.

Humanitarian groups have urged the international community on Monday to step up pressure on Yemen's warring parties to honour their ceasefire committments.

The US-based International Rescue Committee made the plea as a ceasefire between Saudi-backed government forces and Houthi rebels in the port city of Hodeida teeters on the brink of collapse.

Clashes have erupted since last week between the Houthi rebels, who control the city, and pro-government forces. The violence threatens to unravel agreements signed in Sweden last month, the IRC said in a statement.

"In recent days, with clashes erupting inside Hodeida, and both parties accusing each other of violations, the agreement is increasingly in peril," Frank McManus of the group said.

"Fighting in the city and disruptions to imports through the port could propel the country into a full-fledge famine."

UN envoy Martin Griffiths is scheduled to go to Hodeida later on Tuesday in hopes of moving forward on the agreements signed outside of Stockholm.

An agreed-upon prisoner exchange has yet to take place, and Griffiths has acknowledged delays in implementing both this and the ceasefire.

The Yemen conflict has killed at least 10,000 people since a Saudi-led military coalition intervened in support of the beleaguered government in March 2015, according to the World Health Organisation.

Human rights groups believe the real death toll could be five times as high.

The war has pushed 14 million Yemenis to the brink of famine in what the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

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