Call comes amid key offensive to recapture the port city from the Iran-allied militants
Displaced Yemenis receive aid at a school in the city of Hodeidah after being evacuated from a village near Hodeidah airport.
Cairo: The Yemeni government Sunday evening urged the Iran-allied Al Houthi militants to pull out peacefully from the Red Sea city of Hodeida and its vital harbour.
The call was made amid a major offensive supported by the Saudi-led coalition and talks by UN peace envoy Martin Griffiths in the militant-held Yemeni capital Sana’a.
“The Yemeni government follows mediation efforts being made by the UN emissary and announces its welcome of these endeavours aimed at solving the country’s crisis,” the government said in a statement.
Sana’a and Hodeida have been under Al Houthi control since the militants’ 2014 coup against the internationally recognized government.
On Wednesday, the government forces, backed by the Arab Coalition, unleashed a massive military campaign aimed at expelling Al Houthis from Hodeida.
Griffiths, a former British diplomat, arrived in Sana’a on Saturday and met with Al Houthis to convince them to peacefully hand over the city and relaunch a peace process to end Yemen’s conflict.
The Yemeni government Sunday urged Al Houthis to respond to these efforts and to stop their intransigence by accepting “full and prompt withdrawal” from Hodeida and its harbour. The government also demanded the militants to surrender their weapons and hand maps of land and sea mines they have planted in the city to hamper its liberation.