US warns UAE aid must flow through Yemen port

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Government forces, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, have been advancing along the western coast in recent weeks as they battle the rebels, known as Houthis.

"We will continue to discourage any attack on Hodeidah port and will continue to use our influence to do so", Alistair Burt, a foreign office minister, told the House of Commons.

Guards walk on the wreckage of a building destroyed by air strikes in Sanaa, Yemen.

The United Nations fears that a battle in Hodeidah could be devastating for the estimated 600,000 people still living in the city.

Griffiths, who briefed the council by video conference from Amman, has revived a year-old plan to turn over Hodeida port to a neutral party, diplomats said.

The coalition backing Yemen government troops has been closing in on Hodeidah after accusing Houthi rebels of smuggling weapons through the port.

A Saudi-led coalition has been at war with Yemen's Shiite Houthi rebels since March 2015.

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And while the United Nations continues its diplomatic efforts, they also appear to be preparing to fail, saying they believe an attack by UAE forces on Hodeidah is imminent.

The port handles most of the country's commercial imports and aid supplies to provide a lifeline for millions of Yemenis.

Moreover, an attack would sink the negotiations now being brokered by the new, US-supported UN Special Envoy to Yemen.

The UN and aid agencies have pleaded with the Saudi-led force against an attack on Hodeida, warning that it could lead to mass civilian casualties and starvation.

A broader United Nations peace plan calls on the Houthis to give up their missiles in return for an end to a coalition bombing campaign and a transitional governance deal, according to a draft document and sources. This offensive directly undermines stated USA government policy of preventing an attack on Hudaydah, supporting peace negotiations, and working to alleviate Yemen's humanitarian crisis.

The U.N. considers Yemen to be the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with more than 22.2 million people in need of assistance.

"I have spoken with Emirati leaders and made clear our desire to address their security concerns while preserving the free flow of humanitarian aid and life-saving commercial imports", Pompeo said.

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