In Yemen, Special Envoy sees UN role in preserving ‘essential’ aid pipeline at country’s major port

23 November 2018

The United Nations should “actively and urgently” pursue negotiations for a leading role in aiding the humanitarian crisis in Yemen’s port city of Hudaydah, the top UN envoy for the war-torn country urged Friday.

“The attention of the world is on Hudaydah,” the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths said in a statement during his visit to the city, which hosts the major port of entry for most of the county’s food and humanitarian aid.

“I am here to tell you today that we have agreed that the UN should now pursue actively and urgently detailed negotiations for a leading UN role in the port and more broadly,” he said, adding that such a role “will preserve the essential humanitarian pipeline” that serves the country.

He welcomed the latest call for a ceasefire by Britain, in a draft resolution for immediate truce, after violence flared up between the Saudi-led coalition and Houthi rebels on Monday despite UN calls for ceasefire.

“This is an essential step if we are to protect the lives of civilians and build confidence among the parties,” Mr. Griffiths said.

Conflict in Yemen has escalated over the last three years, following a Saudi-led military intervention against the Houthi rebel insurgency, at the request of Yemeni leadership.

The stark humanitarian situation has been further exacerbated by blocks to supplies, fuel and commercial goods delivered through Hudaydah, a lifeline for millions of Yemenis.

Mr. Griffiths underscored the conflict as a priority for the United Nations.

“I have come here today…to learn first-hand how we can help to keep that international pledge to protect the people of Hudaydah from further devastation.”

“As you know I plan and hope to bring the parties together in Sweden very soon for political consultations,” he said, referring to possible initiation of peace talks between Houthi rebels and the Government.

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