Dubai: The UAE, whose troops are fighting Iran-backed Al Houthi Yemeni militia alongside government forces, said on Wednesday it would fully support new peace talks after UN-brokered negotiations broke down earlier this month.
The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Anwar Mohammad Gargash, said he 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 in Yemen, in a bid to get peace talks back on track.
Planned negotiations in Geneva broke down on September 8 after militia 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 on behalf of the legitimate government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who fled into exile.
On September 9, government and coalition troops resumed their deadly offensive on the militia-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. Al Houthis are using the port to smuggle arms from Iran and to divert aid meant for Yemenis to help in their war efforts.
Hodeida is the point of entry for UN aid shipments and also handles 70 per cent 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 militia controls the capital Sana’a and much of the north, was due to address the UN General Assembly later on Wednesday.
The civil war has pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.
Human rights groups warned last week that more than five million malnourished children face imminent starvation.