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article imageKey player UAE backs new Yemen peace talks

By AFP     Sep 26, 2018 in World

The United Arab Emirates, whose troops are fighting Yemeni rebels alongside government forces, said Wednesday it would fully support new peace talks after UN-brokered negotiations broke down earlier this month.

UAE state minister for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash said he had had "very productive discussions" with UN Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

"Reaffirmed strong support for UN-led political process after Geneva setback," Gargash tweeted. "Will fully support UN proposals for new talks soon."

The UN envoy has been shuttling between all sides in the devastating civil war that has killed nearly 10,000 people in Yemen since March 2015 in a bid to get peace talks back on track.

Planned negotiations in Geneva broke down on September 8 after rebel delegates refused to show up until they received guarantees that they would be able to fly home afterwards.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia and their allies have enforced an air and sea blockade of rebel-held areas of Yemen since they intervened in March 2015 when President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi fled into exile.

On September 9, government and UAE troops resumed their deadly offensive on the rebel-held Red Sea port of Hodeida after a brief suspension while the UN attempted to convene peace talks.

The assault on the port city was the trigger for the new peace push.

Hodeida is the point of entry for UN aid shipments and also handles 70 percent of commercial shipping, and the UN warned of a humanitarian catastrophe if the port were put out of use.

Hadi, whose government is recognised by the international community even though the rebels control the capital Sanaa and much of the north, was due to address the UN General Assembly later on Wednesday.

The civil war has pushed Yemen, long the Arab world's poorest country, to the brink of famine.

Human rights groups warned last week that more than five million malnourished children face imminent starvation.

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