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    A soldier walks at Red Sea port of Hodeidah, Yemen May 10, 2017

    US Has Entered Yemeni Peace Process Looking to Reap Benefits - Yemeni Analyst

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    The US State Department has called on the Houthi-controlled Yemeni port of Hodeidah to be turned over to a "neutral party" to prevent it from being used to smuggle weapons and contraband to the militia.

    Speaking to Sputnik Arabic about US support for the initiative to turn Hodeidah into a neutral, UN-controlled port, Abdel Wahab al-Sharafi, head of the Yemeni Center for Democratic Monitoring, said that the port has immense significance for the country, and that it was here that Yemen's fate was being decided.

    "The Americans took this step for two reasons. First, the topic of Yemen is increasingly being discussed around the world. The international community is demanding that measures of some kind be taken to alleviate the humanitarian situation in the country. Second, such a move is also being taken with a view to gain some advantage later on," al-Sharafi said.

    Furthermore, a US intervention in Yemen would open a new page in the Middle Eastern country's history, according to the observer. Washington has repeatedly entered wars in their final stages to reap the benefits along with the other participants, he said.

    On Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert called on Yemen's warring parties not to delay talks any further, or to take any actions which call into question "good faith intentions to look for a solution or make necessary concessions." Nauert added that the US welcomed Saudi Arabia's plans to contribute $500 million to address Yemen's food crisis.

    Also this week, Pentagon chief James Mattis said that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had agreed to cease offensive operations in and around Hodeidah to try to seize the crucial port city from the Houthi militia following intense fighting.

    On Friday, UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths reported that the Houthis had agreed to negotiations on granting the UN a 'leading role' in Hodeidah, allowing the port to become a vital channel of humanitarian relief in the country. The UN has been trying to revive peace talks between the Houthis and the Saudi-backed Yemeni government for months. Planned peace talks in Geneva in September were scrapped after the Houthis said they were blocked from leaving the country by the Saudi-led coalition.

    Yemen descended into civil war in late 2014, when the Shiite Houthi militia overthrew the government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, who fled to Saudi Arabia. Riyadh and a coalition of mostly Persian Gulf state allies began operations to restore the Hadi government to power in March 2015. The coalition's blockade of Houthi-controlled ports has been condemned by the UN for causing a humanitarian disaster and resulting in 14 million Yemenis facing pre-famine conditions.

    Related:

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    Yemen, United States, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia
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