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UN still in talks on Yemen port, envoy urges restraint

AFP  |  United Nations 

The UN for on today pressed on with negotiations to keep a key 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 in a statement.

Yemeni forces backed by troops from the launched the assault despite UN warnings of a "catastrophic humanitarian impact." The 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 following an intense round of shuttle diplomacy this week with Yemen's Huthi rebels, who control the port, 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 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 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 to its knees. The attack on Hodeida, however, could derail that effort.

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

"The is determined to move ahead with the political process despite the recent developments," he said.

UN told Yemen's on Monday that every effort must be made to "avoid a fierce, bloody battle for Hodeida," a UN said.

The coalition maintains that the pro-Iran Huthis are using the port to smuggle weapons.

The has warned that up to 250,000 people were at risk if the coalition moves ahead with an all-out offensive to take the port.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, June 13 2018. 20:30 IST