UNITED NATIONS-- The UN Security Council reiterated the call for the Yemeni ports of Hudaydah and Saleef to remain open despite deteriorating security around the area.

At a press encounter after consultations on Yemen, Swedish ambassador to the UN Olof Skoog said the council members recognize the importance of the ports and reiterate the call for them to be kept open and operated safely.

More than 22 million people in the war-torn country are in need of humanitarian assistance and over 70 percent of them live in proximity to Hudaydah and Saleef.

Skoog, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council this month, said the council members encourage all parties to the ongoing conflict to engage constructively with the efforts of Martin Griffiths, the secretary-general's special envoy for Yemen, to push forward a political solution.

Earlier Thursday, the council members were briefed by Griffiths through video from Jordan as well as by John Ging of UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on Yemen.

The Security Council welcomed the update from Griffiths on his proposal to restart the political process, said Skoog, stressing the members reaffirmed a political solution remains the only way to end the conflict.

A Saudi-led coalition allied with Yemen's internationally recognized government has been at war with the Houthi rebels since 2015, and previous peace efforts have failed.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday upon his departure from Yemen after mediating efforts, Griffiths said he was reassured by the messages he had received, which had been positive and constructive.

All parties have not only underscored their "strong desire for peace," the special envoy said, but have also engaged with him on "concrete ideas for achieving peace."

Since mid-June, forces loyal to Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, with the backing of the Saudi-led coalition, has been on an offensive on Hudaydah in a bid to capture the key port from the hands of the Houthi rebels.

Shortly after the first strikes, the Security Council asked the ports of Hudaydah and Saleef to remain open as they are lifelines of humanitarian aid for millions of Yemenis.

Particularly, Hudaydah is Yemen's single most important point of entry for imports of food, fuel, medicine and other vital supplies.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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