Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Catastrophe if Yemeni port is destroyed, United Nations chief warns

UN chief: Destroying Yemen's Hodeida port would be 'catastrophic' 149 people killed in 24 hours in clashes in Yemen's Hodeida: medics, military
Melinda Barton | 15 November, 2018, 16:59

Hodeida port came under attack on Monday night for the first time since June, when government troops supported by a Saudi-led coalition launched an offensive to take the city from the Iran-backed Huthis.

The fighting around the city, a vital lifeline for most Yemen's population, threatens to worsen Yemen's already-dire humanitarian situation and risks the obstruction of crucial assistance to the country endangering the lives of millions of Yemenis.

Hunt discussed the "latest developments in the region" with 82-year-old King Salman and later Monday held separate talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the monarch's son and heir apparent, the Saudi Press Agency said.

The Saudi-led coalition now "appears determined to take Hodeidah, which in my opinion will still not allow the real start of a political solution", Mr Guterres said.

Global concern about damage to the port has been heightened by widespread malnutrition after four years of war that has placed some 14 million Yemenis at risk of starvation, according to United Nations agencies.

"There will be no victor in this war", Le Drian told France 2 TV.

The Hodeida campaign has sparked fears of a new humanitarian crisis in war-hit, impoverished Yemen, where 14 million people face mass starvation.

A 15-year-old boy died last week of shrapnel wounds in Hodeida, Save the Children said.

Rebel-controlled media reported two air strikes but made no mention of casualties.

The rebels blamed the raids on the Saudi-led coalition, which said it was investigating the report.

The government forces vowed to continue to push forward in an attempt to seize full control of the city's strategic port, but Houthis fought the forces with stiff resistance.

The Saudi-led coalition has also come worldwide pressure to end the conflict following the killing of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in his country s consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

Multiple countries, including Germany and Norway, have announced the suspension of arms sales to Saudi Arabia after Khashoggi's killing.

The coalition has been battling the rebels since March 2015 in a war that has killed tens of thousands of people.

The United States, which for years provided military training and aerial refuelling for the Saudi-led coalition, on Saturday announced it would end its in-flight refuelling support for the alliance.

The statement also said that Pompeo reiterated during the phone talks US calls for a cessation of hostilities in Yemen and for all parties to negotiate a peaceful solution to the conflict under the UN Special Envoy.

The docks as well as Sanaa global airport are under a near-total blockade by Saudi Arabia and its allies, who accuse Iran of smuggling arms to the Huthis. Rights groups fear the actual toll is a lot higher.