Yemen: United Nations To Send Mission To Oversee Cease-fire Agreement In Key Port City

For the first time in three years the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution on the conflict in Yemen, agreeing to send a team of diplomats and military experts to help implement and monitor a fragile cease-fire in the strategic port city of Hodeida. The truce began last Tuesday after being forged the previous week at rare UN-sponsored talks between delegations from the internationally-recognized Yemeni government and Houthi rebels. The truce comes as Western nations are upping the pressure on a Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Arab states to end their campaign against the Iranian-backed Houthis, as Yemen teeters on the verge of total economic collapse and with an estimated 14 million people facing the immediate risk of starvation. The coalition of Arab states intervened in the fight in 2015 after the rebels overran the capital Sanaa and forced President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi into exile. Hodeida, located about 140km (90 miles) west of Sanaa, is one of Yemen’s primary economic hubs, through which goods such as food, fuel and medicine are imported and supplied to nearly two-thirds of the country. The city was captured in 2014 by the Houthis, but since mid-summer has been under assault by the Saudi-led coalition and pro-government troops. Restoring order in Hodeida is viewed as a crucial first step not only to ending the war but also to preventing a mass famine, which some are warning would be the greatest man-made disaster this century.

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