The United Nations is ready to play a supervisory role to protect Yemen’s Red Sea port city of Hodeidah from “potential destruction,” a UN spokesman said on Friday.
As UN Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths, now visiting the city, “said many times, the UN stands ready to work with the parties on a negotiated agreement, to grant a supervisory role for the UN in managing the port, which would protect the port itself from potential destruction and preserve the main humanitarian pipeline to the people of Yemen,” Rheal LeBlanc told a press briefing in Geneva.
Griffiths stressed that "restraint is needed at the moment more than ever if we all want to put Yemen on the path of peace," said LeBlanc.
“He has specific ideas that he will be presenting to the parties and he hopes an agreement can be reached very soon,” added the spokesman.
Griffiths's visit began as the Houthi-held capital of Sanaa was rocked by a string of intermittent explosions amid fighting between Houthi fighters and forces loyal to the Yemeni government, which is currently headquartered in the southern city of Aden.
The government claims that the Houthis use Hudaydah to import weapons from Iran. The port is also considered the main conduit into the country for humanitarian aid.
Impoverished Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa.
The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a devastating air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.
Tens of thousands of people -- including numerous Yemeni civilians -- are believed to have been killed in the conflict, which has left much of the country’s basic infrastructure in ruins.