United Kingdom says Saudi-led coalition to allow Houthi medical evacuations from Yemen

Yemeni pro-government forces gather on the eastern outskirts of Hodeida as they continue to battle for the control of the city

The U.S. and United Kingdom, major arms suppliers to the Saudi coalition, have recently called for a cease-fire in Yemen and the launch of U.N. -led political talks to end the Saudi-Iran proxy war.

"I ask that the parties implement a cessation of hostilities, not least in and around all the infrastructure and facilities on which the aid operation and commercial importers rely", Lowcock said in a statement.

On Oct. 13, a coalition airstrike hit two buses of passengers fleeing the escalating war in Masbarah area south of Hodeidah, killing 17 people, mostly women and children, and wounding 20 others, according to local hospital officials.

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 with the aim of defeating the Iran-aligned rebels and to restore the government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned on Monday that the destruction of the Yemeni port of Hodeidah, a vital lifeline for millions of starving civilians, could trigger a "catastrophic" situation.

"Whilst this is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further".

Britain's Foreign Office said Tuesday the Saudi-led alliance fighting on the side of the government had agreed to the evacuation of up to 50 wounded Huthi fighters to Oman following a visit to Riyadh by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The main gate "was the target of air strikes... but the port is operating normally", the port's deputy director Yehya Sharafeddin told AFP by telephone.

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The Huthis, who seized Hodeida in a 2014 takeover that included the capital, on Tuesday accused the government of the attacks on the port via their Al-Masirah TV.

Clashes between Saudi-backed troops and rebels in Hodeida have raged for almost two weeks, leaving almost 600 people dead and prompting warnings from the United Nations of catastrophic devastation if fighting escalates.

The Saudi-led coalition has also come worldwide pressure to end the conflict following the killing of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in his country s consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

Almost four years into the war, there has been an increase in global pressure to end the fighting in Hodeida, whose docks are the entry point for some 80 per cent of food imports and humanitarian aid into impoverished Yemen.

Pentagon chief Jim Mattis on Saturday said his country had halted its controversial aerial refuelling support for coalition aircraft involved in the war.

After failed peace talks in September, the United Nations is pushing to host a new round of negotiations between the government, backed by the coalition, and the Iran-linked Huthi rebels by the end of the year.

"Serious consideration is being given to a set of political ideas and confidence-building measures that would allow for the start of political talks in Sweden by the end of November", the statement continued.

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