An Emirati official has said the United Arab Emirates will support UN proposals for new peace talks on Yemen.
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash tweeted on Tuesday: “very productive discussions on Yemen today in NY with Special Envoy Martin Griffiths. Reaffirmed our strong support for UN-led political process after Geneva setback. Will fully support UN proposals for new talks soon”.
The comments come just two weeks after UN-sponsored peace talks collapsed before they could officially start and as a Saudi-UAE led alliance advances on densely populated areas of the Houthi-held Hodeidah city.
The failed talks, which would have been the first in nearly two years, were scheduled to take place in the Swiss city of Geneva on September 6 but the Houthi delegation failed to arrive, accusing the Saudi-UAE alliance fighting in Yemen of blocking them from travelling.
Fighting has since intensified in the war-ravaged country, most significantly with a fresh offensive to retake the strategic western city of Hodeidah from the Houthis.
The UN has spent the past few weeks scrambling to mediate between the warring sides, with Martin Griffiths, the UN special envoy for Yemen, holding separate, face-to-face talks with the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels.
More than 120,000 displaced
Aid agencies have said that the humanitarian crisis has worsened “dramatically”, warning that the latest offensive could have devastating consequences for the civilian population, which is already facing famine.
More than 120,000 have already fled Hodeidah, a city of about 600,000, which was seized by the Houthis in late 2014.
The Giant Brigades, a military unit backed by the UAE, has advanced on the city’s outskirts, and according to the Washington Post, Emirati soldiers are stationed less than 15km from Hodeidah.
The UAE entered Yemen’s war in March 2015 as part of a Saudi-led coalition after the Houthis, traditionally based in the northwest of the country, overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa in 2014.
More than three years on, the Saudi-UAE alliance, with logistical support from the US, has carried out more than 16,000 air raids in an attempt to reverse their gains.
So far, the alliance has failed to achieve its objective of reinstating the internationally recognised government of President Abu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, with the Houthis continuing to hold Sanaa and much of the north.
According to the UN, at least 10,000 people have been killed since the Saudi and Emirati-led coalition intervened in 2015. The death toll, however, has not been updated in years and is likely to be significantly higher.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS