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Yemen peace talks likely in early December -U.S.' Mattis

Yemen peace talks likely in early December -U.S.' Mattis

Since 2015, when the fighting first broke out the group has estimated that at least 84,700 children under the age of five may have died from malnutrition.

UN Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths told the Security Council on Friday that Yemen's parties had given "firm assurances" they were committed to attending peace talks he hopes to convene in Sweden before the end of the year.

A Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 in a bid to restore a government that had been ousted by ethnic Houthi rebels in 2014.

Last month, the UN's World Food Program warned that the proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran had already put 8 million - over half of Yemen's 14 million people - on the brink of starvation.

Clashes in Yemen's port city of Hodeidah have resumed amid pressure from the West to end a conflict that has pushed Yemen to the brink of starvation.

After talks with rebel leader Abdel Malek al-Houthi, Griffiths was expected to travel on to Hodeida on Thursday.

Efforts to launch peace negotiators failed in September when the Houthis did not show up at the talks in Switzerland, saying they needed stronger security guarantees from the global community.

Both sides have in the past week expressed support for the envoy and his mission to hold discussions, but military officials have said that intermittent clashes continued to erupt in the Red Sea city of Hodeida.

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Save the Children says that an increase in fighting, blockades and bureaucracy in Hodeidah has forced it to bring supplies through the southern port of Aden, tripling the amount of time for that aid to reach the people who need it the most.

Just hours before Griffiths' planned visit, residents in the east of Hodeida said by telephone they could hear fighting, and reported shrapnel falling in residential neighborhoods.

Multiple past attempts to hold negotiations between the government alliance and Houthis have failed.

Washington has been providing bombs and other weapons, as well as intelligence support, to the Saudi-led coalition backing Hadi, but recently ended its refueling support for Saudi warplanes. No date has been set yet.

Griffiths - whose efforts at kickstarting peace talks in September collapsed - is spearheading the biggest push in two years to end the war.

In September, the Saudi-led coalition admitted that mistakes were made in an August airstrike that killed 40 children, an event considered an apparent war crime by the United Nations human rights body.

It also calls for an unhindered flow of commercial and humanitarian goods across the impoverished country, including a large, fast injection of foreign currency into the economy through the Central Bank of Yemen and more aid funding.


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