It’s a topic UN officials have broached before, but during his visit to Hodeidah on Friday, special envoy Martin Griffiths suggested that the vital aid port could be spared from being a major war target by simply being placed under direct UN control.
UN officials say that idea is to both preserve the city as a humanitarian pipeline into Yemen, and to prevent the major port itself from being destroyed outright in heavy fighting. Britain is pushing a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Hodeidah.
Even in peacetime, Yemen imports the vast majority of its food. During the Saudi invasion, Hodeidah is responsible for an estimated 70% of food shipments into the country, and is the last port accessible by the Houthi-held north of the country. This has mad it a big military target for the Saudis.
There was no word on how the UN proposal is being met this time around, but in the pat it was rejected by Saudi-backed groups who say that the city, and all other cities, must be ceded to the pro-Saudi government.