Fighting resumes in Yemen's Hodeidah as peace talks stall
September 12, 2018 | 6:28 PM
by Reuters

Aden/Geneva: Heavy fighting resumed on the outskirts of Yemen's main port city of Hodeidah, days after UN-sponsored talks between the warring parties collapsed, military sources said on Wednesday.

The renewed skirmishes could put further pressure on UN special envoy Martin Griffiths, who vowed to press ahead with diplomacy after an attempt to hold peace talks in Geneva was abandoned on Saturday when the Houthi movement's delegation failed to show up.

Yemeni military forces allied with a Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis said the battles outside Hodeidah began on Monday but intensified on Wednesday.

Coalition-backed troops are trying to take control of the main route between Hodeidah and Sanaa in order to cut off supplies to the capital, which is also held by the Houthi group, they said.

The Western-backed alliance intervened in Yemen's war in 2015 to restore the internationallly recognised government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Coalition forces retook much of the south before the war bogged down.

The coalition, led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, launched an offensive to wrest control of Hodeidah in June in the largest battle of the conflict, but called it off after little gains to give peace talks a chance.

"The Houthi NO SHOW at the Geneva peace process is further proof that the liberation of Hodeida is what is needed to bring them to their senses & constructively engage in the political process," UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said in Twitter post.

It was not clear if the renewed fighting signalled a resumption of the offensive on the port city, which is a lifeline for millions of Yemenis.

The United Nations fears an attack on Hodeidah, the entry point for the bulk of Yemen's commercial imports and aid supplies, could trigger a famine in the impoverished state where an estimated 8.4 million people are facing starvation.

Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi accused the coalition of blocking his movement's team from traveling to the peace talks.

The foreign minister of Hadi's government, Khaled Al Yamani, accused the Houthis of "trying to sabotage the negotiations".

The Yemen war has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced more than 2 million, according to the United Nations.

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