EU envoy arrives in Yemen to discuss UN Hodeidah plan with Houthi rebels

EU envoy arrives in Yemen to discuss UN Hodeidah plan with Houthi rebels
The head of a EU delegation has arrived in the Yemeni capital to discuss a UN proposal to put the contested Hodeidah port in the hands of a neutral party.
2 min read
07 August, 2017
The Saudi-led coalition's war against Houthi rebels in Yemen has killed 13,000 people. [Getty]
The head of the European Union delegation to Yemen arrived in Sanaa on Sunday to discuss a UN proposal for Hodeidah port to be run by a third neutral party.

Hodeidah, a key transit point for desperately-needed imports, is controlled by Houthi rebels fighting the Saudi-backed government.

In June, the internationally-recognised government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi accepted the proposed UN plan for Hodeidah to be under the control of a "neutral party".

EU Ambassador Antonia Calvo Puerta is visiting the country to discuss the UN proposal with Houthi rebels.

A Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis has imposed an air and sea blockade on rebel-held territory in the country and only UN-supervised deliveries of food and medicines are allowed, nearly all of them through Hodeidah.

The strategic seaport is a coveted goal for Hadi's government, with Saudi forces long planning to recapture it from Houthi rebels.

Any such action by the coalition would have devastating humanitarian consequences as 90 percent of Yemen's food is imported, mostly through Hodeidah.

When the Saudi-led coalition began its operation in March 2015, Hodeidah became subject to immense airstrikes that have since completely shattered its civilian infrastructure.

In May, the coalition dropped leaflets over the port warning its hundreds of thousands of residents to leave amid an impending offensive.

Since Yemen's war began in early March 2015, more than 10,000 people have been killed.