UN Security Council Backs Yemen Cease-Fire in Key Port City

(Bloomberg) -- The United Nations Security Council endorsed a cease-fire in Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah, as diplomats seek to preserve a fragile truce between the country’s Saudi-backed government and Houthi rebels.

The Security Council unanimously adopted on Friday a resolution sponsored by the U.K. that calls for UN monitoring of the cease-fire covering Hodeidah and the withdrawal of forces from the crucial Red Sea port city.

The resolution also calls on Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to submit proposals by the end of the month on how the UN will fully support the agreement reached in Stockholm. The warring sides are expected to meet again in January.

UN council members are intensifying their efforts to end the war in Yemen during what’s viewed as a rare window opportunity to curb the fighting. It comes as U.S. lawmakers increase their pressure on Saudi Arabia to end a war that the UN says has created the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.

The U.S. Senate voted this month to withdraw American support for Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen. It was a largely symbolic move that was seen as a rebuke of President Donald Trump’s support for the Saudi monarchy after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The UN resolution was held up this week as the U.S. insisted, over Russia’s opposition, on condemning Iran for supplying weapons to the Houthis. Any move to cast blame was later dropped, and the resolution remained focused on support for the cease-fire.

U.S. and Saudi officials have blamed the war on Iran’s desire to expand its influence in the region by supporting the Houthi rebels, who in 2015 ousted internationally recognized President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

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