Port still running in Yemen's Hodeida after air strikes

Clay Curtis
November 15, 2018

Diplomatic efforts appeared to have eased fighting in Yemen's Hodeida Tuesday, as Britain said the Saudi-led coalition had agreed to the evacuation of wounded rebels from the country ahead of proposed peace talks in Sweden.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned on Monday that the destruction of the Yemeni port of Hodeidah, a vital lifeline for millions of starving civilians, could trigger a "catastrophic" situation.

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.

"We take this report very seriously and it will be fully investigated as all reports of this nature are", said coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki.

Britain is seeking support among regional partners for new action at the UN Security Council for peace talks in Yemen.

"There will be no victor in this war", Le Drian told France 2 TV. The fighting has left Yemen on the verge of starvation.

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

Residents reported on Tuesday that the fighting had slowed overnight, and rebel media did not report any new fighting.

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"We are witnessing a manmade humanitarian catastrophe on our watch: now is the window to make a difference, and to get behind both the United Nations peace process and current UK efforts in the Security Council".

Almost 600 people have been killed since clashes erupted in Hodeida on November 1, ending a temporary suspension in a government offensive to take the city that began in June.

The coalition has come under intense global pressure to end the conflict, particularly following the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of the kingdom's rulers, 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 U.N. special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths welcomed the reduction of hostilities in Hodeidah and called on the parties to show continued restraint.

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 with the aim of defeating the Iran-aligned rebels and to restore the government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

Mutawakel said Saudi Arabia's refusal to let exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi's government maintain a presence on the ground, the blockade of air and sea ports of entry and the collapse of Yemen's currency after the closure of the country's central bank had also driven the starvation.

Pentagon chief Jim Mattis on Saturday confirmed his country had halted its controversial aerial refuelling support for coalition aircraft involved in the Yemen war. Rights groups fear the actual toll is a lot higher.

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