Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Despite a rocky start, the delicate cease-fire in Yemen's vital port city of Hudaydah appears to be holding, United Nations Special Envoy Martin Griffiths said Tuesday.
The cease-fire was brokered last week during U.N.-sponsored talks between representatives of the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels in Sweden. Nearly four years of civil war in the country has left much of its population on the brink of famine and Hudaydah ports -- needed to vital humanitarian supplies into the country and distributed -- in gridlock.
"I am a bit hopefully," Griffiths told BBC Radio 4 Tuesday. "I'm quite familiar with these plans that don't work. I think, remarkably, this one seems to be working so far, very much in the early hours of course. It's the first time the skies have been quiet over Hudaydah for many, many months. So far, so good, fingers' crossed."
Griffiths said there were skirmishes roughly around 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. with some reports stating that the cease-fire was already broken. Griffiths said, though, some of the skirmishes should be expected as forces withdraw.
"The problem is that the forces have yet to disengage and when they are close up to each other, they are liable to respond to any, what they see as provocation or alert," Griffiths said. "We can expect some of this happening but the pattern at the moment is a positive one."
Griffith said U.N. monitors will meet Wednesday and will eventually start to ensure that humanitarian aid starts to flow through Hudaydah again. He said eventually, the U.N. will clear the way for aid to run freely from the port to the capital city of Sana'a.
He said the prospects of famine in Yemen was one of the driving forces that brought both sides to the negotiating table. The Red Sea port city has been controlled by the Houthi rebels, supported by Iran, since 2014, Sky News reported.
The Yemeni government, supported by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, along with the United States, has been fighting to regain control of the port there.
Both sides blamed each other for intense fighting in the city leading up to the cease-fire. The Houthis charged that the government continued to airstrikes while the Yemeni officials said they were defending themselves against Houthi attacks.