UN urges talks to keep key Red Sea port open to vi­tal de­liv­er­ies

Shanghai Daily - - WORLD - (AFP)

THE UN en­voy for Ye­men yes­ter­day pressed on with ne­go­ti­a­tions to keep a key Red Sea port open to vi­tal aid de­liv­er­ies af­ter govern­ment forces backed by the Saudi-led coali­tion launched an of­fen­sive on Hodeida.

“We are in con­stant con­tact with all the par­ties in­volved to ne­go­ti­ate ar­range­ments for Hodeida that would ad­dress po­lit­i­cal, humanitarian, se­cu­rity con­cerns of all con­cerned par­ties,” said Martin Grif­fiths in a state­ment.

Ye­meni forces backed by troops from the United Arab Emirates launched the as­sault de­spite UN warn­ings of a “cat­a­strophic humanitarian im­pact.” Arab war­planes and war­ships pounded Houthi for­ti­fi­ca­tions to sup­port ground oper­a­tions by for­eign and Ye­meni troops in oper­a­tion “Golden Vic­tory.”

Ground bat­tles raged near Hodei­dah air­port and al-Du­rayhmi, a ru­ral area 10km south of the city, me­dia con­trolled by the Arab states and their Ye­meni al­lies re­ported.

The Red Sea port serves as the en­try point for 70 per­cent of Ye­men’s im­ports as the coun­try teeters on the brink of famine.

Grif­fiths was in Amman fol­low­ing an in­tense round of shut­tle diplo­macy this week with Ye­men’s Huthi rebels, who con­trol the port, Saudi Ara­bia and the United Arab Emirates, whose forces are back­ing the Hodeida of­fen­sive.

“We con­tinue to use ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to avoid mil­i­tary con­fronta­tion in Hodeida,” said Grif­fiths.

He called on all sides to “ex­er­cise res­traint and to give peace a chance.”

The UN en­voy has been press­ing the Huthis to turn over the port to a UN-su­per­vised com­mit­tee that would al­low de­liv­er­ies of com­mer­cial goods and aid to con­tinue to flow through Hodeida.

“We are not giv­ing up,” a Se­cu­rity Coun­cil diplo­mat said. “It’s ei­ther that or the Huthis will face an all-out at­tack.”

Grif­fiths is also lead­ing UN diplo­matic ef­forts to re­sume po­lit­i­cal talks on end­ing the three-year con­flict that has brought Ye­men to its knees.

The at­tack on Hodeida, how­ever, could de­rail that ef­fort.

Grif­fiths is sched­uled to brief the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil on a pro­posed roadmap for peace talks next Mon­day.

“The United Na­tions is de­ter­mined to move ahead with the po­lit­i­cal process de­spite the re­cent de­vel­op­ments,” he said.

UN Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral An­to­nio Guter­res told Ye­men’s For­eign Min­is­ter Khaled Alye­many on Mon­day that ev­ery ef­fort must be made to “avoid a fierce, bloody bat­tle for Hodeida,” a UN spokesman said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.