UNITED NATIONS, June 21 (Xinhua) -- UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths was upbeat on Thursday about his mediation between the Yemeni Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led military coalition, which are fighting for the control of the key Red Sea port of Hudaydah.
"I will continue my consultations with all parties to avoid further military escalation in Hudaydah, which I fear would have severe political and humanitarian consequences. My priority now is to avoid a military confrontation in Hudaydah and to swiftly return to political negotiations," Griffiths said in a statement relayed to the press by the UN spokesman in a note to correspondents.
Griffiths said he was encouraged by the "constructive engagement" of the Houthi leadership in Sanaa. "I look forward to my upcoming meetings with President (Abdrabbuh Mansur) Hadi and the government of Yemen. I am confident that we can reach an agreement to avert any escalation of violence in Hudaydah."
In a closed-door briefing to the Security Council on Monday, Griffiths announced his intention to relaunch political negotiations in the coming weeks.
"I reiterate the commitment of the United Nations to reach a negotiated political settlement to end the conflict in Yemen. I welcome the commitment and willingness of the parties to engage in a UN facilitated intra-Yemeni political process," he said in Thursday's statement.
Forces loyal to President Hadi, with the backing of the Saudi-led coalition, launched an offensive on Hudaydah last week in a bid to capture the key port from the hands of Houthi rebels.
A prolonged siege of the city will have catastrophic humanitarian consequences as Hudaydah is the single most important point of entry for imports of food, fuel and medicine.
Fighting in Yemen continues mainly in districts south of Hudaydah city, while the situation in the city was somewhat calmer over the last 24 hours, UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq quoted the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs as saying on Thursday.