Yemen, UN Chief Seek Peace Talks With Iran-Allied Houthis

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Yemeni rebels on Tuesday attacked a Saudi oil tanker in the Red Sea, causing "minor damage", state media said citing the Saudi-led military coalition against the Iran-backed insurgents.

The UN, which calls Yemen the "world's worst humanitarian crisis", says 22.2 million people are in need of aid, while 8.4 million are on the verge of starvation.

Last week, a missile attack killed an Egyptian worker and wounded two others in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

The United States announced almost $87 million in additional humanitarian aid, while the European Union pledged €107.5 million ($132 million) in new funding this year.

"This is one of the deadliest attacks on children since the conflict in Yemen escalated in March 2015", UNICEF said in a statement. "We all know who the parties [are] to the war but the two things need to be seen separately", the United Nations chief told reporters.

The funding brings the total US humanitarian assistance for the war-torn country to over $854 million since 2017.

The UN says a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in need of food aid, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger.

"This pledging conference represents a remarkable success of worldwide solidarity to the people of Yemen", Guterres said.

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Guterres underscored that the only way to ensure that Yemen donor conferences do not continue year after year is for the sides to negotiate a peace deal.

"All ports must remain open to humanitarian and commercial cargo, the medicines, food and the fuel needed to deliver them".

"There was never a humanitarian solution for any humanitarian crisis", he said.

Most humanitarian aid enters through Hodeidah but the government accuses Houthis who control the port of smuggling weapons through it.

The Houthi militias have stepped up their attacks on Saudi targets by firing missiles at the kingdom in retaliation for the Saudi-led Arab coalition's airstrikes in Yemen.

Griffiths has already held talks with Houthi authorities as well as internationally-recognised Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and Saudi officials in Riyadh.

The 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen requires $2.96 billion to reach more than 13 million people across the country. Under worldwide pressure, Saudi Arabia reportedly eased that blockade on Yemeni ports in December past year for a 30-day period, extended it for another month, then left it in apparent limbo when it expired on February 18.

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