US warns UAE aid must flow through Yemen port

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The port handles most of the country's commercial imports and aid supplies to provide a lifeline for millions of Yemenis.

The UN pulled all of its global staff out of Al Hodeidah early on Monday morning.

"I hope that there will be a way to avoid the military confrontation in Hodeida", Guterres told reporters. "But if Hodeidah city is attacked it might be hard as we can't risk sending our staff to the frontline". "The Coalition condemns such threats posed by Houthi militias, underscores the importance of enforcing the humanitarian and worldwide law as regards the protection of relief personnel and workers in embattled zones", he said.

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The UN Security Council met behind closed doors on Monday at the request of the United Kingdom to be briefed on the situation after heavy clashes were reported in Yemen's third largest city on Friday and Saturday.

He accused the Houthis of seeking to destabilize Saudi Arabia and threaten regional and worldwide security, stating that firing ballistic missiles at residential areas was a violation of global Humanitarian Law. "In a prolonged worst case, we fear that as many as 250,000 people may lose everything - even their lives".

The more than three-year-old conflict in Yemen is widely seen as part of a proxy battle between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he had spoken with Emirati leaders and urged them to work with the United Nations but his statement fell short of warning the coalition against launching an all-out offensive.

United Nations aid chief Mark Lowcock, who also briefed the council, said an attack on Hodeida would be "catastrophic" and that aid agencies were hoping to "stay and deliver" in Yemen, which the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis. Malnutrition, cholera and other diseases have killed or sickened thousands of civilians over the years.

The Houthis seized Yemen's capital Sana'a in 2015 and has been locked in battle with troops loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

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Maintaining open corridors for the aid and avoiding a humanitarian crisis in a city inhabited by half a million people is the priority for Washington, he said.

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