Fighting resumes in flash point Yemen city despite peace push

Fighting resumes in flash point Yemen city despite peace push
Despite warring parties edging towards peace talks, fierce clashes broke out in Hodeida between Houthi rebels and pro-government forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition
2 min read
20 November, 2018
A pro-government fighter walks through destruction left by fighting in Yemen's Hodeida [Getty]
Fierce fighting broke out in the Yemeni port city of Hodeida late Monday between Houthi rebels and pro-government forces, despite progress in peace talks and appeals for calm, pro-government military officials said.

The fighting, the worst since forces loyal to Yemen's government halted an offensive on the lifeline port last week, was concentrated on the eastern part of the city where rebels fired artillery, the loyalist sources said.

Pro-government forces responded while jets from the Saudi-led coalition, which also supports the government, launched 12 raids, the sources said.

The news comes as efforts to end the devastating war picked up pace Monday as the government and rebels edged closer to peace talks and the UK led a push at the UN Security Council for an immediate truce.

The moves came ahead of a visit in the next few days to the war-torn country by UN envoy Martin Griffiths, once again trying to get all sides around the negotiating table.

"The government has informed the UN envoy to Yemen... that it will send a government delegation to the talks with the aim of reaching a political solution," Yemen's foreign ministry said, quoted by the official Saba news agency.

Earlier, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, head of the Houthi rebels' Higher Revolutionary Committee and an influential political figure, tweeted that he wanted his group to announce "readiness to suspend and halt all military operations" and stop firing missiles on Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh, which leads a coalition backing the Yemeni government, also lent its support to new talks. The Gulf kingdom has come under fire for its devastating airstrikes and de facto blockade of its impoverished neighbour, which has lef to the deaths of thousands of civilians.

A UN draft resolution on Yemen presented to the Security Council Monday calls for an immediate truce in the battleground port city of Hodeida, according to the draft seen by AFP.

The text of the draft UN resolution, circulated by Britain to the 14 other council members, sets a two-week deadline for the warring sides to remove all barriers to humanitarian aid.

The proposed resolution would significantly ratchet up pressure on the Saudi-led coalition and the Iran-linked Houthi rebels to seek a negotiated settlement in Yemen, where millions are on the brink of starvation.

It also calls for a large injection of foreign currency into the economy to support Yemen's collapsing currency and for salaries of civil servants, teachers, and health workers to be paid within a month.

Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab