U.A.E. Says Yemen Port Offensive Opens Way for Political Process

(Bloomberg) -- The military operation to retake Yemen’s aid lifeline from Houthi rebels aims to force them back to the negotiating table and end the war, the United Arab Emirates said on Thursday.

The U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia are part of a coalition backing Yemen’s internationally recognized government in its attempt to capture the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah. The siege started on Wednesday despite United Nations warnings that it could lead to significant civilian casualties.

Retaking the port “means that the Houthis will no longer be able to impose their will at the barrel of a gun,” the U.A.E. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said in a statement. “They will be one Yemeni group among others, jointly negotiating to decide the future of their country, in a political process under United Nations auspices.”

The Houthis, an Iranian-aligned Shiite group, controls the capital, Sana’a, and other parts of northern Yemen.

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