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SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen’s government says the political solution to the country’s civil war begins with the “complete and unconditional” withdrawal of rebels from the port city of Hodeida.

The official news agency SABA quoted on Saturday the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi as saying that cease-fire efforts will fail if the Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, refuse to withdraw from the provinces they hold, including Hodeida.

A Saudi-led coalition backing Hadi’s forces launched an offensive earlier this month to retake the port city, a lifeline for Yemen’s population.

The U.N. envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, said Thursday the warring sides had confirmed their willingness to restart talks and that the Houthis called on the organization to manage Hodeida’s port, pending “an overall cease-fire” there, an arrangement accepted by both sides.