New fighting jeopardizes prospects for peace in Yemen, according to the UN



The new escalation of fighting in Yemen threatens to ruin the progress made to end the war in the country, the United Nations warned Tuesday.

According to the organization, the situation in Yemen has worsened very significantly over the past month, with a return to fighting in hitherto quiet areas and with a considerable increase in air and cross-border attacks.

"I am distressed by the information of dozens of civilian casualties, the displacement of families and the damage to schools and hospitals," the UN envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, told the Security Council.

According to the diplomat, although the parties to the conflict continue to insist that they opt for a peaceful solution, the current escalation of hostilities "contradicts that desire."

"The leaders of both sides have the capacity and responsibility to curb violence, reduce rhetoric and commit to a more sustainable scaling," he said.

Before this latest rebound in violence, the war in Yemen had temporarily calmed down, amid international efforts to try to achieve a negotiated exit.

Griffiths warned that the fighting jeopardizes the achievements in Al Hudeida, a key port under the control of the Houthi rebels and where in recent months a great confrontation was avoided thanks to UN-driven agreements.

Al Hudeida is the main gateway to the country of goods and aid and the United Nations has repeatedly warned that a battle for the strategic enclave would unleash a huge humanitarian crisis in a country already devastated by war.

The Yemeni conflict broke out at the end of 2014 when the rebels occupied Saná and other provinces of the country and expelled President Abdo Rabu Mansur Hadi, now exiled in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies have intervened militarily in the conflict since March 2015 to try to defeat the Houthis, supported by Iran, and restore the exiled leader.

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