Yemenis, Saudis back peace talks

Yemeni pro-government troops stand in front of a damaged building during military operations against the Houthi rebels in the port city of Hodeidah Yemen. EPA  STRINGER

"We can not allow this suffering to continue", Beasley, who arrived in Yemen on Sunday, said on his Twitter account.

Western powers who have for three years provided arms and intelligence to the Saudi-led coalition waging war against Houthi insurgents in Yemen are now pressing for an end to a conflict that has killed more than 10,000 people and pushed the country to the brink of starvation.

Hodeidah is the key port of 90 per cent of food imports and aid for millions of Yemenis living in the northern cities, which are under Houthi control.

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir said on Thursday that the country supports UN-led peace efforts to end the war in Yemen.

A commander of the elite troops told Xinhua that the fighting "will continue until the entire province of Hodeidah is liberated".

The Saudi-backed Yemeni government announced later that it is willing to restart stalled peace talks with the Shiite Houthis to find solutions to end the country's years-long conflict.

The United Nations has listed Yemen as the country with world's biggest humanitarian crisis, with seven million Yemenis on the brink of starvation and cholera causing more than 2,000 deaths.

"The offensive to liberate the port city will continue to prevent the rebels from threatening the global navigation in the Red Sea", al-Maliki said at a press conference in Riyadh, aired live by Al Arabiya.

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A report by Reuters news agency said, "the coalition has instructed forces on the ground to halt fighting inside Hodeidah".

For the last day in the city of Hodeidah in Yemen killed at least 149 people, including civilians.

United Nations special envoy Martin Griffiths hopes to bring the warring parties together before the end of the year.

The Yemeni Congregation for reform, known as Al Islah Party, supported all Arab Coalition efforts for ending the Iran-backed Houthi insurgency in Yemen during meetings with UAE officials in Abu Dhabi.

Yemeni politicians and activists told Asharq Al-Awsat that they are concerned halting operations abruptly against Houthi-controlled areas means prolonging the war and giving the pro-Iranian group an opportunity reassemble and bring in reinforcements to many fronts.

AP reported that an informal agreement to reduce hostilities in and around Hodeidah had taken hold in the last two days, in what could be a prelude to peace talks.

On Thursday, officials from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, US, and Britain met in Riyadh to discuss the economic and humanitarian situation in Yemen, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

There has been a military stalemate since the alliance seized the southern port city of Aden in 2015. While it has air supremacy, the Houthis have proved better at guerrilla warfare.

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