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UN to convene Yemen talks in Geneva next month

06 August 2018

The death toll from the Saudi-led coalition airstrikes on Yemen's Red Sea port city of Hodeidah on Thursday increased to 30, a medical official told Xinhua.

A missile attack last week against a Saudi oil tanker in the Red Sea by Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi fighters drove home the dangers to global shipping from a seemingly unwinnable war in the impoverished country.

There was no immediate comment from the Saudi-led coalition.

He said the coalition had aways applied the highest worldwide and humanitarian standards in its targeting operations in Yemen.

While the gap between the Houthis and the coalition has been narrowed considerably, he said, "I am concerned that Hodeida could be a flashpoint".

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UN-brokered political talks on Yemen broke down in 2016 amid demands for a rebel withdrawal from key cities and power-sharing with the Saudi-backed government.

Lise Grande, UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, earlier said hundreds of thousands of people depend on Al-Thawra, the country's largest hospital.

"Hospitals are protected under worldwide humanitarian law". Pro-government forces backed by the coalition were close to capturing the city before pausing the offensive last month to allow United Nations mediation efforts to continue.

The offer came a week after Saudi Arabia suspended its oil shipments through the Red Sea strait of Bab al-Mandeb after Houthi fighters attacked two Saudi oil tankers.

The satellite images released by the coalition show impact craters of about 50 centimetres, whereas the minimum impact area from an air strike is three metres.

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Two ambulances were also destroyed, it said.

In the Council today, Mr. Griffiths said it is time to "begin the hard and uncertain journey away from war" and that there is now a chance "to weigh the opportunities for peace" in the war-ravaged country.

Later on Thursday, Griffiths announced plans to invite Yemen's warring parties to Geneva on September 6 to hold the first round of consultations.

World Health Organization officials on Friday called on the sides to halt fighting for at least three days for a vaccination effort that aims to prevent another deadly wave of cholera. He has been pushing to bring the warring parties to restart peace talks.

Aid agency Save the Children said in a statement emailed to Reuters that at least one explosion went off on Thursday evening in the vicinity of Hodeidah's main hospital, where it runs a diphtheria treatment centre.

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UN to convene Yemen talks in Geneva next month