Heavy clashes near Yemen's Hodeidah as U.N. seeks ceasefire

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"The Emiratis have informed us today that they will now give a 3-day grace period for the United Nations (and their partners) to leave the city", it said.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said there are "intense negotiations" and his Yemen envoy is involved in shuttle diplomacy to stave off the attack.

The ICRC has operated in Yemen since 1962 but said its current activities "have been blocked, threatened and directly targeted in recent weeks, and we see a vigorous attempt to instrumentalize our organization as a pawn in the conflict".

Workers inspect damage at the site of an air strike on the maintenance hub at the Hodeida port, Yemen May 27, 2018.

Mr Hadi is visiting the UAE on the advice of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, Yemen's state-run news agency, Saba, reported.

United Nations humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock told reporters after briefing the Security Council behind closed doors later Monday that it's critical to prevent "a battle" for Hodeida, which is a vital link for supplying millions of Yemenis with the necessities of life.

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He said past and present United Nations efforts had been met with "intransigence" by the Houthis who he said have refused a political solution to end the crisis.

"Our message is clear. if this assault happens then it would be very hard to imagine how hard the situation the people in Yemen, particularly in Hodeidah, will be in", said Muhsin Siddiqui, country director of Oxfam. The UN has already dubbed Yemen the world's worst humanitarian disaster. Though the United States government has rhetorically opposed an offensive, the administration appears to be washing its hands of the UAE's actions and will do nothing to intervene. "Cutting off imports through Hodeidah for any length of time will put Yemen's population at extreme, unjustifiable risk".

"The important thing is that (Hodeidah) is kept open and it is kept functioning because it is the major route in for these commercial supplies".

Yemen relies on imports for 90 percent of its food, and 70 percent of the imports transit through Hodeida, Lowcock told reporters after briefing the council.

Mr Griffiths held several rounds of talks last week in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, which is held by the rebels. "If the Houthis dig in, this could be a bloody street battle comparable to Aleppo", Baron, the analyst, said.

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