The Shi’ite Houthi movement’s proposal to avoid a major fight over the vital port city of Hodeidah centered on making the city “neutral,” with a UN peacekeeping force in the city preventing fighting. The Saudi-backed Hadi government, however, is rejecting that idea.
Hadi delegation head Khalid al-Yamani says that they are willing to consider a UN role in overseeing a harbor itself, and a deal that all money in the city stay at the city’s branch of the central bank.
Even there, Yamani says that he would allow no long-term UN presence in the city, and that they will never accept the city’s neutrality. Instead, he says the Houthis must immediately surrender control over the city.
Hodeidah is the main aid port into Yemen, providing food for some 70% of the population. It is also the last port under Houthi control, meaning it is the lone source of aid for all Houthi territory. The attacks by pro-Saudi forces aim to take the city, which has the UN trying to negotiate a settlement, fearing the attack will lead to a famine threatneing millions.