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UN Security Council Meeting on Yemen Ends Without Action

FILE - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, pictured at a Riyadh news conference in February 2015, has called for an immediate cease-fire in Yemen, saying fuel shortages there have placed humanitarian operations in jeopardy.

The United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting on Yemen Friday but failed to agree on a statement on the growing humanitarian crisis there.

Russia's U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, called the closed-door meeting and proposed a statement calling for humanitarian pauses in the fighting. He said after the meeting that "we continue to believe our call for humanitarian pauses is very valid."

Diplomats at the meeting say discussions on a council statement continue.

Before entering the meeting Friday, Britain's U.N. ambassador, Matthew Rycroft, said the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen is very concerning.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned Thursday that "humanitarian operations will end within days unless fuel supplies are restored." Ban reiterated his call for an immediate cease-fire, or at least a pause, in the fighting.

Najran province, Saudi Arabia

​ ​The fighting among various Yemeni groups, as well as the airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition, have helped create a humanitarian crisis in what was already the Arab world's poorest country.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia said Friday that it has killed "dozens" of Yemeni Shi'ite rebels who were carrying out a large-scale cross-border attack on the kingdom.

In a statement, Riyadh's Defense Ministry said three Saudi soldiers were killed in the fighting late Thursday in southern Najran province.

The ministry says the rebels attacked border posts and control points. They were repelled by a combination of Saudi ground troops and airstrikes.

It is believed to be the largest cross-border attack by the rebels since the Saudi-led coalition began a campaign of airstrikes against them five weeks ago.

Riyadh last week announced it was scaling back the air raids, saying it has accomplished its goal of weakening the rebels, who are believed to be backed by Iran.

The Houthis are loyal to former longtime president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was ousted in 2012 during the so-called Arab Spring protests that swept the region.

The rebels have overtaken the Yemeni capital, Sana'a, and forced the country's Western-backed leader, Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, to flee to Saudi Arabia.

The United Nations says at least 1,200 people have been killed in the fighting and estimates that around half that number have been civilians.

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