Houthis Must Leave Al-Hodeida as Settlement Talks Begin – Yemeni Minister

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“Houthis must withdraw from the port and I have to be clear for all of you that our government forces that are supported by the Arab coalition are a few kilometres from controlling the port and controlling the other parts of the city… That is something they [Houthis] can do right now to give a positive message,” Hussein told reporters.

The government has discussed with UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths that Al Hudaydah should be run by the Yemeni authorities, the minister noted.

“We had made it clear to the Envoy that Al-Hodeida must be run by the official officers. When we talk about the security in Al-Hodeida. It must be guarded by the police of the city, not by the Houthis, not by anyone — police of the Ministry of Interior of the government of Yemen and regarding the port, it must be run by the Ministry of Transport which is responsible for the running of all Yemeni ports,” Hussein said.

The fighting has recently intensified near the Houthi-controlled city of Al Hodeida, through which the rebels receive humanitarian and commercial cargoes. The Yemeni government, in turn, claims that the port city is receiving weapons from Iran. The conflict has led the country to a dire humanitarian situation, with civilians suffering extreme food shortages and disease outbreaks as well as the direct impact from the military operations.

Yemeni Gov’t Ready to Open Sanaa Airport

Meanwhile, the government of Yemen has proposed to reopen Sanaa airport, which could be done tomorrow if Houthis withdraw from the airport and government authorities can inspect planes, Abdulaziz Jabari, an adviser to the president of Yemen and a member of the government delegation at the peace talks in Sweden, told Sputnik on Friday.

“We are pushing forward for the reopening of Sanaa airport but according to certain procedures. We want Sanaa airport to be used as a commercial, humanitarian airport, not as a military airport to transfer weapons to Houthis… If they are willing, tomorrow. We have no problem. Sanaa airport is ready for receiving airplanes. What is being requested by us right now, what is a condition for us right now is to be inspecting and supervising the flights and Houthis militia must withdraw from Sanaa airport,” Jabari said.

The presidential adviser stressed that Houthis should “leave those working in the Ministry of Transport to run the airport.”

“Previously there has been an inspection in Bisha airport, which is a Saudi airport, for a Yemeni and Saudi transfer, but this has been done before. We want the inspection to be inside Yemen and by the Yemeni government, in Aden, in all ports that are available for us,” Jabari said.

Jabari added that the government had discussed this proposal with the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, this morning.

The delegations of the Yemeni government and Houthi militants arrived in Sweden on 5 December. The crisis settlement talks began on 6 December in Rimbo, a town north of Stockholm, and are expected to last through December 14. The UN-led attempts to find a peaceful settlement to the conflict in Yemen have not succeeded so far.

READ MORE: Saudi Coalition to Allow Evacuation of Injured Houthis From Yemen — Reports

CC BY-SA 3.0 / Ljuba brank / Al Hudaydah, Yemen – fishing boats

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