British FM in Saudi Arabia for talks on Khashoggi, Yemen

British FM in Saudi Arabia for talks on Khashoggi, Yemen

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has warned the destruction of the Hodeida port could trigger a "catastrophic" situation in a country where 14 million people are at risk of starvation.

"The violent battles stopped on Monday night".

Government forces, led on the ground by Emirati-backed troops, have made their way into Hodeida after 11 days of clashes, reaching residential neighbourhoods in the east on Sunday and sparking fears of street fights that would further endanger civilians trapped in the city.

Almost four years into the war, there has been an increase in worldwide pressure to end the fighting in Hodeida, whose docks are the entry point for some 80 percent of food imports and humanitarian aid into impoverished Yemen.

The developments came after the offensive on Hodeida by pro-government forces and the Saudi-led coalition, including the UAE, appeared to stall.

Residents and government military sources have reported rebel snipers stationed on rooftops in civilian streets in eastern Hodeida, a few kilometres from the port on the western edge of the city.

Residents reported Tuesday that the fighting had slowed overnight, and rebel media - which regularly claims attacks on loyalists - did not report any new fighting.

Saudi admits journalist Khashoggi dismembered in consulate
The prosecutor, Shaalan al-Shaalan, also said that the whereabouts of Khashoggi's body remained unknown. He added that there are 21 people now in custody, with 11 indicted and referred to trial.

Four employees in Hodeida port who requested anonymity told AFP that a rebel commander had been killed in the attack on Monday.

The Saudi-led Arab coalition intervened in Yemen's conflict in March 2015 in a bid to roll back the Shiite Houthi rebels and reinstate Yemeni President Abdu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The coalition has come under intense global pressure to end the conflict, particularly following the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, an ardent critic of Prince Mohammed, in his country's consulate in Istanbul on October 2. The city is home to Yemen's most valuable port, crucial for food imports and aid delivery.

Mutawakel said Saudi Arabia's refusal to let exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi's government maintain a presence on the ground, the blockade of air and sea ports of entry and the collapse of Yemen's currency after the closure of the country's central bank had also driven the starvation.

He was in the region to boost support for United Nations efforts to end the almost four-year conflict in Yemen, and to press the gulf kingdom over the murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The UAE state minister for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, said meanwhile his country welcomed the "early convening of UN-led talks in Sweden" and urged warring factions to take advantage of diplomatic efforts.

He added that there was "a consensus, between the United States, Russia, Europe and many states in the region, that it is finally time to end this conflict" but that any attempts to begin peace talks have been thwarted by the situation in Hodeida, which he described as "frozen".

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