More than 600 killed in heavy fighting on Yemen's western coast

Somalian children migrants on the route to Aden

Somalian children migrants on the route to Aden

The UN and aid agencies have pleaded with the Saudi-led force against an attack on Hodeida, warning that it could lead to mass civilian casualties and starvation.

The United Nations is engaged in "intense" shuttle diplomacy between the Iran-aligned Houthi group in Yemen, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in a bid to avert an attack on Yemen's Hodeidah port city, U.N. chief Antonio Guterres said on Monday.

Following the closed-door meeting, Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, who is council president this month, called for de-escalation and said the top United Nations body would be "closely" following developments.

The city is split between government and rebel control.

The coalition backing Yemen government troops has been closing in on Hodeida after accusing Houthi rebels of smuggling weapons through the port.

By late today, key lawmakers had begun losing faith in U.S. efforts to convince Saudi and UAE military officials to stop the assault, after The Wall Street Journal reported that the UN's shuttle diplomacy failed to move UAE officials and that the Donald Trump administration had given the operation "a blinking yellow light".

Nearly 10,000 people have been killed since the alliance launched its intervention, contributing to what the United Nations has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

United Nations humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock told reporters today that 70 percent of Yemen's imported food, fuel, and medicines come through Hodeidah. "We left it in his hands for the time being", Nebenzia told reporters.

"We are hoping for the efforts of the special envoy to bring a positive resolution".

He said in a statement that he had spoken with leaders of the United Arab Emirates and "made clear our desire to address their security concerns while preserving the free flow of humanitarian aid and life-saving commercial imports".

Eleven humanitarian aid agencies, including Oxfam and Save the Children, separately urged British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to threaten to cut off British support to the coalition if it attacks Hodeida. The Red Sea port is a lifeline for millions of people, handling most of the country's commercial imports and humanitarian aid supplies.

"'We are concerned that in the midst of a Senate effort to exercise its constitutional authority to end unauthorized hostilities - including USA targeting and refueling assistance for Saudi-led airstrikes against Yemen's Houthis - the Pentagon may have concealed key information from members of Congress regarding the full extent of on-the-ground USA military participation in the Saudi coalition-led war", the letter adds.

The conflict has left almost 10,000 people dead in Yemen, already the Arab world's poorest country.

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