SANAA, Yemen, Yemen's Houthi rebels began, on Saturday, withdrawal from two ports of Hodeidah Province, eyewitnesses said.

Khalid al-Hawaki, a resident at al-Mina quarter of the port city of Hodeidah, said that, dozens of military vehicles were seen carrying Houthi militias from the ports of Salif and Ras Issa, arriving at the centre of Hodeidah city.

Hodeidah Province, main lifeline entry of most of Yemen's commercial imports and humanitarian aid, has three ports along the Red Sea, namely Hodeidah main port, for commercial imports, Salif for grain imports and Ras Issa for exporting crude oil.

A UN statement said, Houthi rebels offered to withdraw unilaterally from the ports within four days, beginning Saturday.

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, head of the Houthi Supreme Revolutionary Committee, said, his forces' withdrawal will begin at 10 a.m. local time (0700 GMT).

Ahmed al-Zabidy, a witness at Salif port, said that, a group of local coast guards, wearing police uniforms, took posts at the port, after the withdrawal of the Houthi militias, while a UN monitoring team was seen checking the port facility.

Meanwhile, Muammar al-Eryani, information minister of the Saudi-backed exiled Yemeni government, said, the rebels' move apparently aims to misinform the international community and the UN Security Council.

The redeployment is inaccurate and misleading, al-Eryani wrote on Twitter, referring to the coast guards who replaced the Houthi rebels as loyalists to the Houthi group.

The UN envoy, Martin Griffiths, told the Yemeni government that, if the Houthis failed to withdraw from Hodeidah's three key ports within four days, he will brief the Security Council on the facts on May 15, al-Eryani added.

In addition, a government source said, the Saudi-led coalition may seek the green light from the United States to launch a large-scale offensive to recapture Hodeidah from the Iran-allied Houthi rebels.

The Stockholm Agreement, the first step towards a comprehensive political solution, was reached in Dec, 2018, and focused on the port city of Hodeidah.

Both Yemeni parties have largely obeyed the cease-fire deal, but failed to withdraw forces from the city.

Hodeidah has been the focus of clashes since 2017.

Source: NAM News Network

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