Monday, 10 December, 2018

United Nations scrambles to avert coalition attack on Yemen port

Col. Turki Al-Maliki Col. Turki Al-Maliki
Steven Clarke | 14 June, 2018, 02:02

The Iran-backed rebels have maintained control of the city since 2015, and have not only used its port to smuggle weapons into Yemen but also to profit from illegally sold humanitarian aid.

The three-year stalemated war has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced more than three million.

Moreover, an attack would sink the negotiations now being brokered by the new, US-supported UN Special Envoy to Yemen. I urge you to speak out publicly against the offensive and warn our allies that Congress will introduce legislation to end USA assistance for their campaign should they move ahead with an attack.

The Saudis and UAE believe that seizing Hodeidah will put both military and economic pressure on the Houthis to reenter peace talks, as well as reduce the militants' ability to attack Saudi Arabia.

A pro-government Yemeni soldier fires a machine gun on June 7, 2018, near the city of Al Jah in the Hodeida province, 50 kilometers from the port city of Hodeida, which the Iran-backed Huthi insurgents seized in 2014.

He sad that United States officials had "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".

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"Our message is clear. if this assault happens then it would be very hard to imagine how hard the situation the people in Yemen, particularly in Hodeidah, will be in", said Muhsin Siddiqui, country director of Oxfam. The United Nations says that Yemen is now the world's worst humanitarian crisis and that 22.2 million Yemenis are in need of humanitarian aid.

The UK and other European countries have long opposed the offensive. Oosterom described Hodeidah as a "lifeline" for aid deliveries in Yemen.

Yemen relies on imports for 90 percent of its food, and 70 percent of the imports transit through Hodeida, Lowcock told reporters after briefing the council.

He said in a statement that he had spoken with leaders of the United Arab Emirates and "made clear our desire to address their security concerns while preserving the free flow of humanitarian aid and life-saving commercial imports". Clashes have occasionally broken out between the two coalition allies.

"This is something that could be extremely high-risk and could cause a lot of humanitarian disruption. there's a reason why you're seeing so much opposition in some quarters".

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