New York: The UN special envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths arrived in Yemen on Saturday for emergent mediation of the crisis in the key Red Sea port of Hudaydah.
Griffiths aimed to persuade the Houthi rebels to hand over the area's control right to the government to avoid large-scale military operation, which will lead to destruction of local infrastructure. The forces loyal to Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, with the backing of the Saudi-led coalition, launched an offensive on Hudaydah on Wednesday in a bid to capture the key port from the hands of the Houthi rebels. Graffiths had expressed his deep concerns over the escalation of the Hudaydah crisis on Wednesday, saying the conflict would deteriorate humanitarian situation in the area. He stressed that military operations cannot solve the problem and he would not give up any effort that can stop a military conflict. A prolonged siege of the city will have catastrophic humanitarian consequences as Hudaydah is the single most important point of entry for imports of food, fuel and medicine. More than 22 million people in the war-torn country are in need of humanitarian assistance and over 70 percent of them live in proximity to Hudaydah and Saleef, another Red Sea port. Many of the estimated 600,000 citizens in Hudaydah are dependent on assistance to survive. Griffiths just concluded his mediation in Yemen on June 5. This is his second visit in two weeks, for fear of humanitarian situation deterioration in the area.