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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 October 2018

Hadi and allies back coalition as fighting edges closer to Hodeidah city

UN efforts to find a diplomatic alternative to the city assault continue.

A Yemeni civilian receives food aid for displaced people who fled battles in the Red Sea province of Hodeida and are now living in camps in the northern district of Abs, under control by the Iranian-backed Huthi rebels in Hajjah province, on June 24, 2018.
A Yemeni civilian receives food aid for displaced people who fled battles in the Red Sea province of Hodeida and are now living in camps in the northern district of Abs, under control by the Iranian-backed Huthi rebels in Hajjah province, on June 24, 2018.

Yemeni President Abdrubo Mansur Hadi has praised the efforts of Emirati forces and Arab-coalition following a meeting with Yemeni President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi praised the efforts of Emirati forces and the Arab Coalition after a meeting with Hadramout governor Faraj Al Bahsani and Prime Minister Ahmed bin Daghr in Aden.

It was a rare show of unity in Yemen’s three-year civil war. Mr Hadi and Mr Al Bahsani have regularly disagreed in recent years, often publicly, but the meeting was a display of solidarity between the two rivals.

Just hours afterwards, clashes were reported near Hodeidah University as fighting edged closer to the city centre following the pro-government forces’ capture of the airport on Wednesday.

Reuters reported that the Houthis had sent more fighters to the city centre, while Yemeni journalist Baseem Al Jenani said the rebel group had been forced to move artillery units in the neighbourhood of Galil, after protests from residents.

The meeting between Mr Hadi and Mr Al Bahsani happened as the operation to take back Hodeidah from the Houthis, called Golden Victory, entered its second week.

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Diplomatic efforts to avoid an assault on the city centre and port are continuing, with UN special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, due to meet Mr Hadi in the coming days. Last week Mr Griffiths visited Sanaa to meet the Houthi leadership.

The UN envoy is also scheduled to present a report on Yemen to EU foreign ministers today in Luxembourg.

“I am encouraged by the constructive engagement of the Houthi leadership in Sanaa and I look forward to my coming meetings with President Hadi and the government of Yemen,” Mr Griffiths said.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Anwar Gargash, repeated his demand that only a Houthi withdrawal from the port would end the operation.

“They must withdraw unconditionally from the port and city,” he said on Twitter. “The onus is on the Houthis to withdraw and stop threatening the people of Hodeidah.”

Meanwhile, the International Crisis Group said the battle for the port city was reaching a point of no return, with prospects of a negotiated settlement fading as the Iran-backed Houthis refused to give up the port, through which it received weapons from Iran.