UN ready to play role in Yemen’s Hodeidah port

UN ready to play role in Yemen’s Hodeidah port
In this file photo taken on January 27, 2018, a UNICEF cargo ship carrying food aid is seen docked at the Red Sea port of Hodeidah. (File/AFP)
Updated 23 November 2018

UN ready to play role in Yemen’s Hodeidah port

UN ready to play role in Yemen’s Hodeidah port
  • The UN is ready to play a supervisory role in managing the port of Hodeidah
  • Western countries are pressing for a cease-fire and renewed peace efforts to end the country’s three-year-old conflict

HODEIDAH/GENEVA: The United Nations is ready to help supervise Yemen’s Hodeidah port to protect the vital supply lifeline from “potential destruction,” the world body said on Friday, as its envoy to the war-damaged country met managers of the Houthi-held harbor.
Western countries are pressing for a cease-fire and renewed peace efforts to end the country’s three-year-old conflict amid international concern that half the population, or some 14 million people, could soon be on the brink of famine.
UN spokesman Rheal LeBlanc told reporters in Geneva that UN envoy Martin Griffiths had specific ideas about managing the port that he would present to the parties to the conflict.
“As he (Griffiths) has said many times, the UN stands ready to work with the parties on a negotiated agreement, to grant a supervisory role for the UN in managing the port, which would protect the port itself from potential destruction, and preserve the main humanitarian pipeline to the people of Yemen,” LeBlanc said.
Griffiths arrived earlier in the day in Hodeidah, the latest focus of the war between the Houthi group, which controls the city, and pro-government forces backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The port is an important supply line to the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa, located in mountains to the northeast of Hodeidah, as well as to much of the rest of the country.
Griffiths told the UN Security Council last week that Yemen’s parties had given “firm assurances” they were committed to attending peace talks he hopes to convene in Sweden in December.
LeBlanc said Griffiths wanted a stop to a recent escalation in fighting around Hodeidah in order to “create a conducive environment” for the Sweden consultations.
Griffiths visited Sanaa on Thursday to talk to Houthi leaders about their attendance in Sweden.
The Western-backed coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to restore the internationally-recognized government that was ousted from Sanaa in 2014 by the Houthis.