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State Department Says Yemen's Hodeidah Port Must Be Turned Over to Neutral Party

CC BY-SA 3.0 / Ljuba brank / Al Hudaydah, Yemen - fishing boatsAl Hudaydah, Yemen - fishing boats
Al Hudaydah, Yemen - fishing boats - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - All parties to the Yemeni conflict must not delay peace talks or take actions that call into question their good faith intentions, Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement.

"All parties must not delay talks any longer, or insist on travel or transport conditions that call into question good faith intentions to look for a solution or to make necessary concessions," the statement said on Wednesday.

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The warring parties must not use the period of the truce to reinforce military positions, implant mines, or in any way escalate the conflict, Nauert added.

Heather Nauert also said that the Hodeidah port must be turned over to a neutral party. "Hodeidah port must be turned over to a neutral party to accelerate the distribution of aid to address the acute humanitarian crisis," the statement said on Wednesday.

Handing the port to an impartial party would also prevent it from being used to smuggle weapons and contraband into Yemen, Nauert added.

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Nauert highlighted that the United States welcomes Saudi Arabia's announcement this week to contribute $500 million to address the food crisis in Yemen.

Earlier on Wednesday, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis told reporters that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have ceased offensive operations around Hodeidah.

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Mattis also said peace talks aimed at resolving the Yemeni crisis are expected to take place in Sweden in early December.

Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi's government and the Shiite Houthi movement have been in a state of war since 2015. The government is backed by the Saudi-led coalition that has been carrying out military operations targeting areas controlled by the Houthis since March 2015.

The United Nations has been trying to revive peace talks between Houthi rebels and the Saudi-backed government in Yemen. A UN plan to organize talks in Geneva in September was abandoned after Houthis said they were prevented from leaving the country.

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