Tuesday, 11 December, 2018


Yemen president backs United Nations peace talks but vows to 'liberate' key port

UN chief: Destroying Yemen's Hodeida port would be 'catastrophic' 149 people killed in 24 hours in clashes in Yemen's Hodeida: medics, military
Bennie Garza | 15 November, 2018, 18:43

A government official based in Aden said that the a number of refugee camps had been established to receive new displaced people from Hodeidah.

The fighting is now focused on Hodeida, a port city through which impoverished Yemen imports 70 per cent of its food and humanitarian aid.

"The Saudi-led coalition have agreed to the evacuation of wounded Houthis from Yemen, one of the key stumbling blocks to the UN Geneva talks in September", it added.

The officials said efforts were being made to persuade the Houthis to abandon the city and hand over control to an independent Yemeni party that would run the port under United Nations supervision.

Asked by AFP, coalition spokesman Saudi Colonel Turki al-Maliki said he was going to check.

The port's deputy director, Yahya Sharafeddine, said the main entrance to the docks had been "the target of air raids" but was fully functioning Tuesday.

Hodeida port came under attack Monday night for the first time since June, when government troops supported by the Arab coalition launched an offensive to take the city from the Iran-backed Houthis. He reported three wounded guards.

Three port employees reached by telephone said the rebels had also begun to mine entryways to the port overnight.

"If the port at Hodeida is destroyed, that could create an absolutely catastrophic situation", UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned.

The Huthis, who seized the port in 2014, said they were mining across Hodeida province, airing footage late Tuesday of what they said were landmine explosions targeting pro-government forces.

"The coalition sees military pressure as key to ensuring the Huthis come to the table and are ready to compromise", said Dickinson.

Britain, the United States and France have all called for a cessation to the hostilities.

The coalition has come under intense worldwide pressure to end the conflict, particularly following the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, an ardent critic of Prince Mohammed, in his country's consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

The Saudi-led coalition has been waging a war in Yemen since March 2015 to push back the Iran-backed Huthis, but the rebels still hold Hodeida and the capital Sanaa.

Pentagon chief Jim Mattis on Saturday said his country had halted its controversial aerial refuelling support for coalition aircraft involved in the war.

The Hodeidah offensive has sparked global outcry unprecedented in almost four years of conflict between Houthis, who are linked to Iran, and the Saudi-backed government.

Griffiths has said he hopes to host talks by the end of the year.

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