Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Houthi rebels and government forces will start pulling back from two critical Yemeni ports Monday as part of an agreement aimed at bringing peace to the war-scarred nation.
The warring sides will scale back forces in the Saleef and Ras Issa ports in Hudaydah, which has been at the center of peace negotiations for months. The drawback will occur under United Nations supervision a part of a deal to spur the delivery of relief aid.
The withdrawal is the second phase of the agreement that pushes Houthi forces back from the main ports and government forces back from the Kilo 7 area. Monday's moves will also include the removal of landmines in the area.
Hudaydah and its Red Sea ports are critical in Yemen, as they're key in getting humanitarian supplies to the country. The cease-fire negotiated in December was an attempt to get supplies flowing to a desperate population.
The United Nations said Sunday it was finalizing a $4.2 billion plan to help millions on the verge of starving in Yemen due to the long-running civil war.
"It has really been a horrific year for millions and millions of people in Yemen who are literally balancing on the edge of starvation and indeed, famine," Jens Laerke, a representative for the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said in a statement.
"And they need massive amounts of other kinds of aid: in the health sector, water and sanitation, education for their children, and so on and so forth.
"We are really at a crossroads."
Laerke said the aid plans to help as many as 19 million people in Yemen, including some 3.3 million forced away from their homes since the war started in 2015. About 685,000 have fled since last June.