UNITED NATIONS - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has voiced concern about the escalation of fighting in Yemen in a telephone conversation with the country's Saudi-based President, saying there was no military solution to the conflict, a UN spokesman said Thursday.

“The Secretary-General expressed his concern about the escalation of fighting on the ground and air strikes since the end of the humanitarian pause, and reiterated his firm belief that there is no military solution to the conflict,” the spokesman said in a readout of Ban's exchange with Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi Mansour. The violence in the Persian Gulf state continues to rumble on amid a worsening humanitarian crisis and despite wider UN-backed attempts to facilitate dialogue among national and regional stakeholders.

On Wednesday, the UN's health agency, the World Health Organization (WHO), confirmed that as Yemen enters its tenth week of conflict, nearly 2,000 people have been killed and 8,000 injured so far.

Meanwhile, political consultations originally scheduled for today in Geneva have been delayed until further notice. In his telephone conversation with for President Hadi, the Secretary-General recalled that he had asked his Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, “to redouble his efforts” to consult with the Yemeni Government, Yemen's political groupings and countries in the region “with the aim of convening the Yemeni consultations in Geneva at the earliest possible opportunity.”

In addition,  Ban voiced appreciation for President Hadi's reaffirmation of his commitment to UN-brokered negotiations and full support for, and participation of his Government in, the Geneva consultations.

“The Secretary-General hoped that the consultations could resume as soon as possible,” the readout concludes.

Reuters adds: two Saudi border guards were killed and five wounded by shells fired from Yemeni territories, an Interior Ministry spokesman said late on Wednesday, as the United Nations said the war's death toll was close to 2,000. Saudi forces and the Houthis have been trading fire across the border since an Arab alliance began military operations against the Iranian-backed group in March to try to restore exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power.

Saudi state news agency SPA said the border guards were killed at a military post in Dhahran al-Janoub, along the border with Yemen, when projectiles fired from the Yemeni side struck.

Two of the soldiers died on the spot while five others were wounded and taken to a hospital, the agency said.

The Saudi-led coalition says it began their campaign heeding a call by Hadi after the Houthis started advancing south towards the port city of Aden, where the president was based. The Houthis, who captured the Yemeni capital Sanaa last September, say they are fighting against the militants using areas outside their control as staging grounds for attacks. They also accused officials in Hadi's government of siphoning public funds.

On the ground, southern opposition fighters allied with Hadi said they had ambushed and killed six soldiers allied with the Houthis stationed in the south-eastern city of Zinjibar. The World Health Organisation (WHO), which compiles figures on casualties in Yemen, said its latest figures show that 1,942 people had been killed between March 19 and May 22. It said 7,870 people were injured in the same period.

Residents of the southern city of Aden said Houthi fighters at checkpoints outside the city had been preventing trucks carrying basic foodstuffs and qat - a narcotic leaf many Yemenis chew daily - from entering.

They said they believe the measures were a punishment after local fighters ejected the Houthis from the nearby city of Dhalea in the most serious setback for the group since March.

Houthi officials were not immediately available to comment on the reports.