The UN envoy for Yemen hopes to relaunch talks on a peace plan next month despite an offensive on the key port city of Hodeida that threatens to escalate the war and trigger a humanitarian disaster, diplomats said today. Speaking by video conference from Sanaa, Martin Griffiths briefed the Security Council behind closed doors on his framework for peace talks even as the Saudi-led coalition pressed on with an assault on the city.
The first round of preliminary talks could take place next month to restart negotiations on a political transition, Griffiths told the council, according to two diplomats in the chamber. Following the meeting, Russian Deputy Ambassador Dmitry Polyansky said council members renewed their call for the port at Hodeida, the entry point for vital aid deliveries and commercial goods, to remain open.
“We hope that nothing terrible happens in Hodeida,” said Polyansky whose country holds the council presidency this month.
Fierce fighting this month has displaced 5,200 families mostly from districts south of the city, UN officials said, adding that the number of those fleeing the violence was expected to rise. The Saudi-led coalition launched an offensive on June 13 to drive out Yemen’s Huthi rebels from the Red Sea port city of 600,000.