x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 22 February 2018

EU envoy in Yemen for talks over UN plan to run key port

Talks with Houthi rebels over Hodeidah plan supported by Yemen government 

A UAE soldier escorts Yemeni prime minister Ahmed Obaid bin Daghar during a visit to the liberated Red Sea port city of Mokha on August 6, 2017. Fawaz Salman / Reuters
A UAE soldier escorts Yemeni prime minister Ahmed Obaid bin Daghar during a visit to the liberated Red Sea port city of Mokha on August 6, 2017. Fawaz Salman / Reuters

The head of the European Union delegation to Yemen is visiting the country for talks with Shiite Houthi rebels over a UN plan regarding a disputed key port.

Houthi officials say Ambassador Antonia Calvo Puerta arrived in Sanaa on Sunday to discuss the UN proposal for Hodeidah port to be run by a third neutral party under U.N. supervision.

The Red Sea port of Hodeida, currently under Houthi control, is a vital lifeline for most of the country's population.

Yemeni officials in the internationally recognised government of president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi say they welcome the UN plan.

A Saudi-led coalition, backing Mr Hadi's government and battling the Houthi rebels, has long planned to seize the port but held back over fears it would impede humanitarian aid deliveries.

Government forces backed by the coalition have managed to recapture the Red Sea port of Mokha in an operation launched earlier this year.

Prime minister Ahmed Obaid bin Dagher visited Mokha on Sunday.