DUBAI, June 18 (Xinhua) -- A United Arab Emirates (UAE) senior official late Sunday called on Shiite Houthi rebels to unconditionally withdraw from Yemen's Hodeidah.
The urge was made by UAE Minister of State Anwar Gargash through his twitter account to brief members of the international diplomatic corps in Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital, on the Arab coalition operation "to liberate the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah from Houthi control."
The UAE wants to "help" UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths to finish his "difficult task" in Yemen, Gargash noted.
"We are at a turning point, because as long as the Houthis hold Hodeidah, they will continue to impede the political process. We firmly believe that the liberation of Hodeidah will pull the Houthis back to the negotiating table," the UAE official said.
The UAE is part of a Saudi-led Arab military coalition which has been fighting the Iran-backed Houthis since March 2015 to support the internationally-recognized government led by President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
Clashes between both sides around Hodeidah, a strategic port city on Yemen's western Red Sea coast which is connected through high ways with the capital Sanaa held by Houthis, have been intensifying in recent weeks.