Guterres said his envoy Martin Griffiths was locked in "intense negotiations" with Yemen's rebel Huthis, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to find a "way to avoid the military confrontation in Hodeida." During his meeting with Yemen's new Foreign Minister Khaled Alyemany, Guterres stressed that "everyone should redouble efforts to find a political solution and avoid a fierce, bloody battle for Hodeida," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
The United Nations pulled all of its international staff out of Hodeida early today.
For the past two weeks, Yemen government troops backed by the coalition have been closing in on Hodeida, which they claim is being used by Huthi rebels to smuggle weapons.
UN aid chief Mark Lowcock said an attack on Hodeida would be "catastrophic" and that aid agencies were hoping to "stay and deliver" in Yemen, which the UN describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
Yemen relies on imports for 90 per cent of its food, and 70 percent of the imports transit through Hodeida, Lowcock told reporters after briefing the council.
Griffiths, who briefed the council by video conference from Amman, has revived a year-old plan to turn over Hodeida port to a neutral party, diplomats said.
Following the closed-door council meeting, Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, who is council president this month, called for de-escalation and said the top UN body would be "closely" following developments.
The council did not specifically call on the coalition to refrain from attacking Hodeida and diplomats said there had been much discussion over the president's statement to the press.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he had spoken with Emirati leaders and urged them to work with the United Nations but his statement fell short of warning the coalition against launching an all-out offensive.
"I have spoken with Emirati leaders and made clear our desire to address their security concerns while preserving the free flow of humanitarian aid and life-saving commercial imports," he said.
Griffiths is set to present on June 18 a new peace plan for Yemen, but he has warned that military action could derail that effort.
Eleven humanitarian aid agencies, including Oxfam and Save the Children, separately urged British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to threaten to cut off British support to the coalition if it attacks Hodeida.
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