Published: Thu, June 14, 2018

UN scrambles to avert fierce bloody battle for Yemen port

UN scrambles to avert fierce bloody battle for Yemen port

"We will continue to discourage any attack on Hodeidah port and will continue to use our influence to do so", Alistair Burt, a foreign office minister, told the House of Commons.

Impoverished Yemen has been wracked by violence since 2014, when the Shia Houthi group overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa.

The United Nations fears that a battle in Hodeidah could be devastating for the estimated 600,000 people still living in the city.

The UN Security Council met behind closed doors on Monday at the request of the United Kingdom to be briefed on the situation after heavy clashes were reported in Yemen's third largest city on Friday and Saturday.

"What we should not see is an attack on Hodeida port".

Almost 10,000 people have been killed since the alliance launched its intervention in Yemen in March 2015, contributing to what the United Nations has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis. The U.N.is also pushing the militants to turn over arms in exchange for an end to the bombing campaign and a transitional governance deal.

The following year, UN-sponsored peace talks held in Kuwait failed to produce any tangible breakthroughs.


The Iran-backed rebels have maintained control of the city since 2015, and have not only used its port to smuggle weapons into Yemen but also to profit from illegally sold humanitarian aid.

Meanwhile, the USA was following developments in Yemen very closely, said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

"We expect all parties to honor their commitments to work with the UN Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary General for Yemen on this issue, support a political process to resolve this conflict, ensure humanitarian access to the Yemeni people, and map a stable political future for Yemen".

He cited the possibility that the United States could potentially do more on humanitarian relief, if asked, but said "right now we have not been asked to do more than what we're already doing".

United Nations aid chief Mark Lowcock, who also briefed the council, said an attack on Hodeida would be "catastrophic" and that aid agencies were hoping to "stay and deliver" in Yemen, which the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The U.S., he said, is closely following developments in Hodeidah and urged Emirati leaders to preserve "the free flow of humanitarian aid and life-saving commercial imports".

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