Saturday, 23 June, 2018

Saudi Arabia says Yemen rebel fire kills 3 in kingdom

Col. Turki Al-Maliki Col. Turki Al-Maliki
Deanna Wagner | 14 June, 2018, 09:23

The fighting has escalated as government forces close in on the Red Sea port of Hodeida, a vital lifeline through which most of Yemen's food and medicine enters.

The council met behind closed doors to hear United Nations envoy Martin Griffiths report on his diplomatic efforts to keep the rebel-held port of Hodeida open to shipments of aid and commercial goods.

Guterres said U.N. Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths was shuttling between Sanaa and also the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

During his meeting with Yemen's new Foreign Minister Khaled Alyemany, Mr Guterres stressed that "everyone should redouble efforts to find a political solution and avoid a fierce, bloody battle for Al Hodeidah", UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

The United Nations relocated members of its worldwide staff from Hodeidah on Monday. One proposal is for the United Nations to take control of the port or the city.

Britain requested the urgent talks after telling aid agencies on the ground that it had received a warning from the United Arab Emirates that an attack was imminent.

And her statement warned that the likely "catastrophic humanitarian impact" would be worsened due to Hodeida's key role as the point of entry for some 70 percent of Yemen's imports.

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Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, the current council president, said discussions centered on "the need for de-escalation".

"We are hoping for the efforts of the special envoy to bring a positive resolution".

The U.N. made a decision to evacuate its staff after member states were told that an attack was imminent, the New York Times reported.

Hodeidah handled 90 percent of the nation's foodstuffs and the humanitarian aid flow before the war, and periodic Saudi blockades of the port since 2015 have heightened fears of starvation and compounded aid agencies' response to a deadly cholera outbreak previous year. Other attacks on Riyadh have taken place since, the most recent being in May.

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.

Yemeni government forces have advanced to within nine kilometers (six miles) of Hodeida, the Saudi-led military coalition said last week.

The conflict in Yemen has left almost 10,000 people dead in what was already the Arab world's poorest country.