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Yemeni gov’t backs UN envoy’s plan for Red Sea port

YEMENI GOV’T BACKS UN ENVOY’S PLAN FOR RED SEA PORT
The Yemeni government on Sunday welcomed UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed's plan for the Houthi-held Red Sea port of Hodeidah in western Yemen.

During his visit to Sanaa last week, the UN envoy called for preventing any attack on the port, which has been the entry point for 70 percent of Yemen's food supplies as well as humanitarian aid.

He also called for maintaining the independence of the central bank with a view to allowing it to pay salaries in the war-torn nation.

"The government is fully ready to discuss the details of proposals related to arrangements for the withdrawal of militias from Hodeidah," Yemen's UN mission said in a statement cited by the official Saba news agency.

It called for forming a "technical committee of economists and financial experts to help the government find an appropriate and urgent mechanism to pay salaries and deal with revenues" from Houthi-ruled areas.

The government praised Ould Cheikh Ahmed's efforts "to help the government alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people."

The UN envoy has suggested a roadmap that calls for the withdrawal of Houthis from the Hodeidah port and handing it over to a neutral third party with a view to avoiding any offensive by the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis.

There was no comment from the Houthis on the envoy's proposal.

Yemen has fallen into civil war in 2014 after Houthi rebels overran capital Sanaa and other provinces.

In 2015, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive air campaign aimed at reversing Houthi gains and shoring up Yemen's pro-Saudi government.

According to UN officials, more than 10,000 Yemenis have been killed in the conflict to date, while more than 11 percent of the country's total population have been displaced from their homes.

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