UN envoy: Yemen parties agree on initial Hodeida withdrawals

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. envoy for Yemen says the government and Houthi rebels have reached agreement on the initial redeployment of forces from the key port of Hodeida.

Martin Griffiths told the Security Council Monday that "when — and I hope it is when and not if — these redeployments happen they will be the first voluntary withdrawals of forces in this long conflict."

He called Hodeida "a test of many things" including leadership, and expressed hope "that we shall see in the coming days the people's trust vindicated in this."

Griffiths said agreement on the detailed plan for the phase one withdrawals was reached in negotiations between the parties and Lt. Gen. Michael Lollesgaard, who heads the U.N. operation monitoring the cease-fire and redeployment agreement reached in Sweden in December.