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UN Envoy: Yemeni Rebels Express 'Strong Desire' for Peace


FILE - U.N. envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths listens to the undersecretary of Houthi-led government's foreign ministry, Faisal Amin Abu-Rass upon his arrival at Sanaa airport in Sanaa, Yemen, June 16, 2018.

The U.N. envoy to Yemen has expressed optimism after meeting with the top leader of the Houthi rebels in a bid to end the country's devastating civil war.

In a statement issued before his departure from the rebel-held capital, Sanaa, Martin Griffiths said the rebels expressed a "strong desire for peace'' and discussed "concrete ideas for achieving peace," without elaborating.

He said he may meet with President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in the southern city of Aden.

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

The U.N. hopes to prevent a full-scale coalition assault on the port city of Hodeida, a vital lifeline for a country already teetering on the brink of famine.

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