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Yemen: On the Edge of a Humanitarian Catastrophe

The United Nations has declared its highest-level humanitarian emergency for Yemen, where it says an ongoing conflict has put more than 80 percent of the country’s population in need of aid. U.N. officials said 13 million Yemenis barely have enough food and more than nine million have little or no access to clean water, Voice of America reports.

It should be noticed that insecurity is still going on in Yemen. Aviation of the Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia continues to strike Shia Houthi positions. In response Houthi rebels shell military targets in the border areas near Saudi Arabia. In mid-June the delegations of the conflicting sides held consultations in Geneva. The dialogue had an indirect nature and was carried out through Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the UN special envoy for Yemen. The discussions were mainly about the establishment of a humanitarian pause. However, the ceasefire agreement during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan failed. The parties accused each other for the failure of negotiations. In addition, Houthi rebels accused Saudi Arabia of putting pressure on the negotiation process, which, in their opinion, had a negative impact on the outcome of the discussions. The date of the second round of talks has not been scheduled yet.

The Yemeni conflict has become one of the main issues not only for the Gulf States, but also in the whole Middle East. In January 2015 the situation in the country escalated. Yemen’s president asked the UN and the Gulf monarchies to intervene and protect the legitimate authority by every possible measure. Thus the Saudi-led airstrikes began.

Some analysts consider that Iran stands behind the Houthi rebels and want to hit its regional rival Saudi Arabia. Iran officially refuses its role and involvement in the conflict. However, one should note that during the recent years Iran is more and more involving in the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and other countries. This sharpens Iran’s relations with Saudi Arabia. The open confrontation between the two regional superpowers can really blow up the region. This means that the consultations and talks on the conflict should be held only with the involvement of these powers. 

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