11:55 GMT05 March 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The issue of control over the strategic Yemeni port of Al Hodeidah, contested by Houthi rebels and government forces, does not fall under the competence of the United Nations as its primary goal is to observe the situation, a Houthi representative has told Sputnik.

    Last week, the Reuters news agency reported, citing sources, that the Houthi rebels, also known as Ansar Allah, are willing to hand control over the Yemeni port to the United Nations in order to ease tensions around the ongoing offensive by Yemeni government forces to seize the city. Al Hodeidah accepts some 80 percent of all aid and commercial deliveries to the crisis-torn country.

    "We are not against the United Nations, but we are saying that it must fulfill its entrusted role. Control over anything is not under the competence of the United Nations, its mission is to observe and monitor," Daifallah Shami, a member of the Houthi politburo, said.

    The group has repeatedly stated that they are against a military settlement to the conflict and has called for political reconciliation via negotiations, in which only Yemenis would be making decisionson the country's future, the member of the movement noted.

    On June 13, Yemeni government forces, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, launched an offensive to seize Al Hodeidah from the Houthi movement after the latter failed to respond to the government's offer to withdraw from the port city. Various international organizations and rights groups have called on the warring parties to exercise restraint, warning of catastrophic consequences for the civilian population.

    READ MORE: WHO Urges Yemeni Conflict Parties to Ensure Operation of Hodeidah Port

    The conflict between the Yemeni government and the Houthis, ongoing since 2014, has resulted in thousands of people being killed and a major nationwide humanitarian crisis.


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