UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths told the UN Security Council on Thursday that there will be talks in Geneva on September 6, with the various warring factions all invited. He says he hopes the result will be a framework for peace talks going forward.
It’s been two years since the last public attempt at negotiations. While the Houthi rebels have endorsed the idea of such talks, as have the Saudis, the Saudi-backed Hadi government has spurned the idea of making any sort of deal that includes rebel representation in future governments.
The push this time is likely to be the aid port of Hodeidah. This is the last Houthi-held port, and the source of food for an estimated 8.4 million civilians in northern Yemen. The Saudi-led forces are trying to conquer the port, which would effectively cut rebel territory off from all food.
While this is being presented as an attempt to make a big strategic gain and take a lot of leverage over the rebels, it would be done in the form of a famine. The use of food and medicine as weapons of war is fueling a lot of international concern, though it doesn’t seem likely to change the strategy of attacking the city.