08/03/2018, 16.25
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UN talks to end Yemen war set for September in Geneva

For UN envoy Martin Griffith a "political solution" is possible, but world powers must support it. The war has already killed 10,000 people. At least 22 million people, 75% of the population, are in great need. More than 8 million people suffer from hunger. A solution is also needed for the port of Hodeida.

New York (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The United Nations has invited warring sides in Yemen’s civil war for talks on 6 September in Geneva to discuss a framework for negotiations to achieve peace in a country where eight million people are suffering from hunger.

Speaking yesterday to the Security Council, UN envoy Martin Griffiths said that "a political solution" to end the war was "available". He urged world powers to support the new push for peace talks.

Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has led a military campaign against the Houthi, a group demanding greater power sharing. The Saudis accuse the Houthi of being backed by Iran.

The United Nations had already tried peace talks in 2016 but its efforts quickly failed.

The war has left nearly 10,000 people dead and unleashed what the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis. More than 22 million people – 75 percent of the population – are in dire need of aid.

The city of Hodeida, on the Red Sea, has been latest flashpoint. Controlled by the Houthi, it is one of the ports where humanitarian aid goods are unloaded.

Saudi Arabia has tried to take it, but has been criticised by various humanitarian agencies.

Bombing in the city has intensified in past week after Riyadh accused the Houthi of attacking with Iranian help two of its oil tankers in the waters of the Red Sea.

Griffith said he is trying to negotiate an agreement on the port city that wold place it under UN control to ensure the flow of aid.

The Yemeni conflict has been exacerbated by the rivalry between two regional powers, Saudi Arabia and Iran and their international backers. The United States, along with France and Great Britain, supports the Saudi coalition; Russia has sided with Iran.

Pope Francis and the apostolic vicar of southern Arabia, Mgr Paul Hinder, have repeatedly called for peace and dialogue to end the suffering of the population.

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