The UN was offered a supervisory role to monitor the port of Hudaydah but rejected the proposal, the leader of the Houthi rebels claimed in a live broadcast on Al-Masirah TV yesterday. “We welcomed a supervisory, technical and logistical role of the UN at Hudaydah,” said Abdul Malik Al-Houthi, “but they are liars, they just made baseless justifications.”
The broadcast came after more than a week of fighting by the Saudi-led coalition for the Houthi-controlled port. The coalition continues to accuse the Houthis of using Hudaydah to smuggle weapons from Iran despite, its warships monitoring the Bab El-Mandeb Strait. There has been no evidence to suggest that the Houthis are receiving arms via the port.
UN envoy Martin Griffiths arrived in Houthi-held Sana’a last Saturday to meet with leaders of the group and convey the conditions laid down by the UAE regarding the ongoing fighting at Hudaydah. However, on Monday, sources close to the discussions in the Yemeni capital told Anadolu that the talks had failed to achieve any tangible breakthrough.
Abdul Malik Al-Houthi argued that there are no risks to shipping in the Bab El-Mandeb Strait. “We target warships that threaten the Yemeni coast and back the coalition aggression on Hudaydah,” he insisted.
The Houthi leader vowed to continue resisting the coalition, and wasted no time in blaming Western countries for supporting the Saudis and their allies in the battle for Hudaydah. “Britain, France and other European countries involved in support to the coalition’s assault will be confronted too,” he warned.
The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a massive air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains. According to the UN, more than 10,000 Yemenis have been killed and continue to suffer in the conflict.
The internationally-recognised President of Yemen, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, called for the fight to be taken beyond Hudaydah to Sana’a. A similar desire was aired by Anwar Gargash, the UAE Foreign Minister, who said earlier in the week, “The liberation of Hudaydah is the beginning of the end of the war.”
Approximately 250,000 Yemenis will be affected by the attack on Hudaydah, according to the UN. Yemeni civilians have resorted to taking shelter in schools to avoid being targeted by the largest offensive yet launched by the coalition in their country.