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UN calls for talks over Yemen’s Hudaydah as Saudi warplanes strafe port city

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Ansarullah fighters man a machine gun mounted on a military truck as they parade on the outskirts of capital Sana'a, Yemen. (File photo by Reuters)

A UN monitoring mission in Yemen has called for new talks over Hudaydah, as Saudi warplanes strafed areas south of the port city and Yemeni army forces advanced and gained ground.

Warplanes of the Saudi-led coalition bombed areas to the east of Hays district, located south of Hudaydah, the capital of an eponymous province in western Yemen, overnight on Sunday. According to local sources, the repeated airstrikes killed at least three people and wounded seven others.

Despite the bombing, Yemeni army and allied fighters from the Popular Committees advanced and gained ground from retreating mercenaries and armed militia loyal to Yemen’s Riyadh-backed former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

Yemen’s vital port city of Hudaydah, currently under a tight blockade by the Saudi-led invaders, is in control of Yemeni army and its allied Ansarullah forces.

Back in December 2018, representatives of Yemen's Ansarullah-backed National Salvation Government and Riyadh-sponsored loyalists to Hadi reached a peace deal – known as the Stockholm Agreement – following a round of UN-brokered peace negotiations between the two sides. One of the main objectives of the agreement was establishing a ceasefire along the Hudaydah front.

The UN Security Council established the UN Mission to support the Hudaydah Agreement (UNMHA) to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire agreement.

Ansarullah, however, says they expected the Stockholm Agreement to lead to peace, but instead, Saudi Arabia has continued to violate the UN-backed agreement, killing and injuring thousands of Yemenis ever since.

On Monday, the UNMHA stressed the withdrawal of Saudi Arabia’s mercenaries and militias loyal to Hadi from Hudaydah, al-Durayhimi, Bayt al Faqih and parts of al-Tahita and subsequent Yemeni army takeover that was “a major shift” in the frontlines. It also called on both sides to hold fresh talks over the situation in Hudaydah.

The UNMHA further said the advance by Yemeni army and its allied fighters could result in “improved movement for civilians” between the provinces of Hudaydah and Sana’a, and along roads connecting the port city with other districts.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies – including the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – launched the brutal war on Yemen in March 2015. The campaign was launched to eliminate Ansarullah and reinstall Hadi. The conflict, accompanied by a tight siege, has failed to reach its goals, but it has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemeni people.

The UN says more than 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger. The world body also refers to the situation in Yemen as the world's worst humanitarian crisis. The war has also taken a heavy toll on Yemen’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories.

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