For Prelims and Mains: Yemen issues, peace agreement, features and its significance. In Sweden on Dec. Dec. 11, 2018, the Yemeni government and Houthi delegations agreed to swap more than 15,000 prisoners by the 20th of the following month, after having already exchanged lists. Not only have the parties missed the deadline, but they have also failed to comply with the overall agreement, even though, according to the United Nations, they have unilaterally released hundreds of prisoners since then. Between April and August 2019, 31 minors were released after being detained in Saudi Arabia. Houthi rebels released 290 detainees in September; Saudi Arabia released 128 Houthi detainees in November; and on New Year`s Day Houthi rebels released another six Saudi detainees. While these measures have undoubtedly relieved many families, trust between the parties involved remains limited, as less than 5% of prisoners have been included in the agreement. Confidence declined further after a series of Huthi attacks on high-profile targets far from Hodeida, including a United Arab Emirates (UAE) base in Mokha (hit by a Huthi missile), a Yemeni government-run military facility in Lahj governorate and sites inside Saudi Arabia. At the same time, the Saudi-led coalition has exacerbated its rhetoric in what many see as a preparation for a return to hostilities. It is said to be locking its troops at key posts on the Red Sea coast, including Mokha.
Although not all of these actions constitute violations of the ceasefire agreement (in many cases, Houthi attacks have occurred outside their geographical scope), they are highly provocative. It is likely that a technical component under Cammaert`s leadership and a political aspect, under the leadership of Martin Griffiths, the UN special envoy, who forwarded the Stockholm agreement, will likely be both a technical component. Griffiths has sustained a punishing travel schedule as he meets with senior Huthi leaders, Yemeni government officials and coalition officials, extracting renewed commitments to the process. The United Nations must also redefine the agreed redeployment deadlines in Sweden, which were set at 21 days after the ceasefire was announced, meaning the deadline expired on 8 January. Even before the review of hostilities between the parties, this timetable was purely logistically unrealistic. It will probably be up to Griffiths to get the Houthis and the government to accept a timetable that recognizes the urgency of the task at hand, but gives Cammaert a decent amount of time to complete it. To regain the lost momentum, the focus should for now be on an agreement on the real Houthi redeployments of the ports and on their implementation. Secondly, the UN aimed at normalizing the status quo by facilitating the redeployment of government and Houthi forces in two phases within 21 days, rather than pressuring the Houthis to withdraw from Hodeida and its three ports as per UN Security Council Resolution 2216 (2015). Failing to complete the redeployment of the Joint Forces and Houthi militiamen a year later, contrary to the 21 days provided for by the agreement, the Coordination Committee on Redeployment (RCC) convened more than seven joint meetings and numerous one-sided meetings to discuss the operational aspects of redistribution. In an attempt to show progress, the UN announced the creation of a joint operations center in September to monitor de-escalation efforts and facilitate destablishment of four joint observation posts in late October, after Abhijit Guha resumed his role as the third head in a year of the mission mission in support of the Hodeida agreement (UNMHA) and chair of the RCC.
Although these steps have reduced security incidents in the city by approximately 80 percent, according to Griffiths, they failed to stop the Houthis from targeting a Yemeni government delegation in a missile and drone attack in late November.