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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 October 2018

UN envoy to Yemen reportedly headed back to Sanaa for talks

Martin Griffiths has held several rounds of talks with Houthi rebels

UN special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths was reportedly heading to the rebel-held capital of Sanaa on Monday in a bid to convince Houthi rebels to withdraw from the key port city of Hodeidah.

Yemen’s Foreign Minister Khaled Al Yamani reiterated on Sunday that the Iran-backed group must withdraw fully and unconditionally from the city for any progress to be made.

Meanwhile, Yemeni President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi said the Houthis must abide by UN Security Council resolution 2216, which calls for the restoration of his authority and a withdrawal of the Houthis from Sanaa and other cities.

In the past week, Mr Griffiths has jetted between Sanaa, the southern city of Aden and Muscat, the Omani capital, for meetings with Houthi representatives and Yemeni government officials including President Hadi.

President Hadi insisted that the UN must remain the basis of any discussions and that “any negotiation or political process requires a genuine application of Resolution 2216”.

He added that negotiations that did not fall into the framework were “no longer acceptable, our people and our nation can no longer tolerate further quirks to prolong this senseless war”.

A spokesman for the Arab Coalition highlighted Hodeidah port’s continued operations, saying that seven ships had docked at the port on Sunday and that another seven were waiting nearby to unload goods.

The Arab Coalition — spearheaded by Saudi Arabia and the UAE — intervened in Yemen’s civil war in 2015 at the request of the internationally-recognised government of President Hadi. Yemeni government forces — backed by the alliance — launched the offensive to retake on Hodeidah on June 13.

UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash said, however, that the alliance continues its pressure "on the parameter". The coalition will wait for the results of the envoy's visit to Sanaa, he added.

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