The UN envoy for Yemen has said the country's warring parties have agreed to attend negotiations in Sweden aimed at ending more than three years of brutal war. Martin Griffiths told the UN Security Council on Friday that the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels had shown a "renewed commitment" to work on a political solution to end a war that has driven millions to the brink of famine. "I have received firm assurances from the leadership of the Yemeni parties - the government of Yemen, of course, first, and the Houthis - that they are committed to attending these consultations," he said. "I expect them to appear for those consultations and indeed, so do the Yemeni people, who are desperate for a political solution to a war in which they are the main victims." Griffiths said he planned to travel to the rebel-held capital Sanaa next week to finalise arrangements and even offered to travel with the Houthi delegation to Sweden "if that's what is needed."
SANAA – Heavy fighting in Yemen between pro-government forces and Shiite rebels has killed more than 600 people on both sides in recent days, security officials said Monday. Government forces, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, have been advancing along the western coast in recent weeks as they battle the Iran-allied rebels, known as Houthis. The fighting has escalated as government forces close in on the Red Sea port of Hodeida, a vital lifeline through which most of Yemen's food and medicine enters. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media. Witnesses, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said the fighting has forced dozens of families to leave their homes.
The UN's humanitarian chief warned on Tuesday "the spectre of famine" has returned to war-torn Yemen and for the first time singled out Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait for giving nothing to this year's $3.4bn appeal for desperately needed aid. Mark Lowcock told the UN Security Council that famine in Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country, was averted two years ago because donors swiftly met 90 percent of the UN's funding requirements, enabling humanitarian agencies to increase monthly aid from eight million to 12 million people and save "millions of lives". Today, he said, the UN appeal has received only 30 percent, about $1bn, leaving nine million Yemenis to cope with deepening cuts to aid programmes including food, water, and healthcare. Lowcock said Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait "who have a particular responsibility, which they have discharged in recent years, have so far given nothing to this year's UN plan". Alluding to financial pledges that have not been turned into actual contributions, he said, "It is particularly reprehensible to promise money, which gives people hope that help may be on the way, and then to dash those hopes by simply failing to fulfil the promise".
New York - The World Food Programme (WFP) has said there "very well could be" famine in remote areas of Yemen where the UN's food agency does not have access, painting a bleak picture of the hunger crisis gripping the country. "Yemen is a disaster and I don't see any light at the end of the tunnel right now," WFP's Executive Director David Beasley told reporters at a closed briefing during the UN General Assembly in New York City on Thursday. The WFP has warned that Yemen is on the brink of a full-blown famine, with 18 million of its 29 million population food insecure, 8.4 million severely so. The country's civil war further worsened in the wake of Saudi-led military intervention in 2015, which has ravaged the country's economy and caused the Yemeni riyal to collapse, depreciating 180 percent. The cost of food has increased by 35 percent in the last 12 months and if trends continue the riyal will reach an exchange rate of 1,000 to the US dollar, putting 12 million at risk of starvation, UN officials have warned.
The Saudi-UAE military alliance fighting in Yemen says it will open humanitarian corridors between two rebel-held areas, the Red Sea city of Hodeidah and the capital Sanaa, to allow life-saving aid to be delivered to millions of starving Yemenis. Turki Al Maliki, a spokesman for the military alliance, said on Monday that "the coalition is working with [UN humanitarian agency] OCHA to establish safe humanitarian corridors to help in the delivery of aid." There was no immediate reaction from the UN. Al Jazeera's Andrew Simmons, reporting from neighbouring Djibouti, said Monday's announcement "came following a chorus of protests, indignation and impassioned pleas for something to be done. "The details still haven't been released but there is already some sort of agreement between the alliance and the UN to get supplies through, but they're having difficulties because the main roads between the two cities are the site of fighting.