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West pressures Saudi Arabia and UAE for Yemen ceasefire

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are facing increasing pressure from the West to agree to a ceasefire in Yemen to prevent the country from plunging into mass famine. This has led to the halt of the Saudi led coalition’s offensive against the Houthis in the port city of Hodeidah.

The offensive on this strategic port was relaunched last month in an effort to cut off Houthi ruled areas from their main supply route.

Western allies including the US and the UK are pressing for a ceasefire in Yemen and are encouraging 'both sides' to participate in political talks.

The UK and the US have sold more than $12 billion USD worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia since the kingdom intervened in the war in 2015, drawing criticism for their complicity in the atrocities.

The UK’s Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, met with Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Adel al Jubeir and the Saudi King Salman in Riyadh on Monday.

During his visit, Hunt said that “right now we are witnessing a man-made humanitarian catastrophe.”

Hunt added that he believes there is a “real willingness” from the Saudi coalition to begin peace talks.

Speaking at a press conference, Jubeir said “we support a peaceful solution in Yemen and we support the efforts of the UN special envoy to Yemen.”

António Guterres, the UN secretary general, said “the fighting must stop, political debate must begin, and we must prepare a massive humanitarian response to avoid the worst next year.”

See more from Al Jazeera.