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UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Britain said on Friday it plans to put forward a draft United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an immediate truce in Yemen and a resumption of peace talks.
The 15-member body this week failed to agree on a statement condemning an Oct. 8 air strike that killed some 140 people. Russia dismissed the statement as too vague and diplomats said Moscow refused to engage any further on it.
"Sadly the Yemen statement is dead," Britain's U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told reporters on Friday. Council statements must be agreed by consensus.
"We have decided instead to put forward a draft Security Council resolution on Yemen calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities and a resumption of the political process," he said. "We will be circulating that to council colleagues in the coming days.
A Saudi-led Arab coalition has been fighting Iran-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen since March 2015 to try to restore the internationally backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power after rebels took over the capital Sanaa, made gains in other provinces and forced Hadi's government to flee into exile.
Iran's regional rival Saudi Arabia accuses Tehran of providing support to the Houthis, a charge the Islamic Republic denies.
Fighting in Yemen has intensified since U.N.-led peace talks in Kuwait ended in August without an agreement. The fighting has been concentrated around Sanaa.
Tensions rose further after Saturday's air strike, widely blamed on Saudi warplanes, which ripped through a wake attended by some of Yemen's top political and security officials, killing 140 people.
The U.S. military launched cruise missiles on Thursday against three coastal radar sites in areas of Yemen controlled by Iran-aligned Houthi forces, after failed missile attacks this week on a U.S. Navy destroyer, U.S. officials said.
Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by James Dalgleish