Explosions rock Yemen day after missile shot down over Saudi Arabia

The United States on Monday called on clashing factions in Yemen to work with the United Nations to end the more than three-year-old conflict that has pitted Iran-aligned Houthis against other Yemeni forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a statement, said the United States was closely monitoring the situation in near Yemen's main port city of Hodeidah and that he had spoken with Emirati leaders. Heavy fighting intensified in the area over the weekend, according to military sources.

United Nations had earlier warned that the world will see one if its largest famine crises in Yemen if no humanitarian aid is provided to the war-torn country.

Yemen is currently witnessing a war between the Shiite rebels backed by Iran, known as Houthis, and the internationally recognised government, which is allied with a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia. Ever since the Houthis overran Sanaa in 2014, the Yemen government has been functioning from Saudi Arabia.

UN aid chief Mark Lowcock said that the Saudi-led military coalition must allow aid access to the citizens of Yemen, otherwise, it would cause "the largest famine the world has seen for many decades with millions of victims."

The conflict pits the Houthi movement, who seized the capital Sanaa in 2014, against forces backed by a mostly Gulf Arab coalition trying to restore the internationally recognized government of exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The UN has sponsored a series of peace talks aimed at ending the three-year-old war which has killed more than 10,000 people and created the world's most urgent humanitarian crisis.

Below are the UN-sponsored rounds of talks reported by Reuters:

*14 June 2015, Geneva: U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launches talks between delegates of the Yemeni government and the Houthi movement. The talks collapse on June 19 with each side accusing the other of breaching a truce.

*15 Dec. 2015, Geneva: U.N. Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed launches direct talks between the two sides but they are suspended the next day after the Houthis reject government demands to release detained senior officials, sources told Reuters. Indirect talks between the parties end on Dec. 20

*14 Jan. 2016: Talks scheduled to take place but are repeatedly postponed due to tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran, who are fighting a proxy war in Yemen, and on disagreement over whether a ceasefire is needed for a new round of talks.

*21 April 2016, Kuwait: U.N.-sponsored talks bring together the Houthi movement and its General People's Congress allies with the Saudi-backed government of Hadi.

- Suspended on May 1 by the Yemeni government after the Houthis capture a military base north of Sanaa. Resume May 4.

- Suspended on May 17 by the Yemeni government which demanded that the Houthis first commit to withdrawing from captured cities and handing over their arms. Resume May 21.

- Suspended Aug. 1 after the Yemeni government walks out when Houthis reject a plan proposed by U.N. envoy Ahmed calling on the group to quit three main cities, including Sanaa, ahead of talks to form a government that would include the Houthis.

- Adjourned by U.N. envoy August 6.

*No U.N. sponsored peace talks were held in 2017 and 2018.