British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has backed the Arab Coalition push to liberate Hodeidah, saying that the Houthi rebels have been in breach of UN Security Council resolutions and have obstructed humanitarian supplies getting to citizens of the city and beyond.
In a statement released by the Foreign Office on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Johnson said: “We are in regular contact with the coalition about the need to ensure that any military operations in and around Hodeidah are conducted in accordance with international humanitarian law, including on the protection of civilians, and do not disrupt commercial and humanitarian flows through the port.
“The coalition have assured us that they are incorporating humanitarian concerns into their operational plans. It is vital to maintain the flow of food, fuel and medical supplies into Yemen. For their part, the Houthis must not compromise port facilities or hinder the humanitarian response.”
More on the Hodeidah offensive
Mr Johnson also pointed out how the Houthis had driven out the legitimate government in Yemen in 2014 when they stormed the capital Sanaa and how the coalition had been invited into the country by that government.
“The ongoing coalition intervention in Yemen came at the request of the legitimate government of Yemen,” he said. “Houthi forces have consistently failed to adhere to UN Security Council resolutions, including by launching missile attacks against Saudi Arabia and shipping in the Red Sea. They [the Houthis] have obstructed access for humanitarian supplies leading to significant suffering among civilians.
“It remains imperative to resume work towards a comprehensive political settlement. Lasting peace and stability in Yemen will require dialogue and negotiation. UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths is due to update the Security Council soon on his proposals for a negotiated settlement. We call upon all parties to throw their weight behind his efforts, for the sake of the Yemeni people and the security of Yemen’s neighbours.”