Coalition to Gradually Reopen Yemen's Seaports, Airports

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The announcement from the Saudi mission at the United Nations came after the coalition fighting Yemen's rebels, known as Houthis, faced widespread global criticism over the closure, with the U.N. and over 20 aid groups saying it could bring millions of already suffering people closer to "starvation and death".

An air raid by the Saudi-led military coalition fighting against the Houthi movement in Yemen shut down the airport in the capital Sanaa on Tuesday, further isolating the country where millions are on the brink of starvation, the state news agency SABA reported.

Al-Mouallimi said the Saudi-led coalition wants tougher inspections at the port of Hodeida, which is controlled by Houthi Shiite rebels, because current United Nations -monitored inspections only check large ships, and "in the case of small and medium-size ships there is hardly any inspection that takes place in the port or anywhere else". The missile was intercepted near the capital of the country. The Houthis have denied that. "Seven million people are already on the brink of starvation and the blockade will only bring them closer to it". On Monday, the coalition said it would reopen ports in areas held by allied forces and loosen restrictions it had raised after the firing of the missile, which was intercepted near Riyadh's global airport.

The Saudi-led coalition hopes that will prevent "the smuggling of weapons, ammunitions, missile parts and cash that are regularly being supplied by Iran and Iranian accomplices to the Houthi rebels", the statement said.

Jamie McGoldrick, the head of the UN's aid mission in Yemen, criticised the Saudis, saying such measures would take too long to implement and cause needless deaths. "This will have no impact on our operations once they resume", Mr McGoldrick said. "This siege is oppressive, and the whole world is sleeping!" people chanted as thousands gathered outside the United Nations offices in the rebel-held capital Sanaa. The coalition closed all Yemen air, land and seaports last week in response to a rebel ballistic missile attack on Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the UN Abdallah al-Mouallimi told reporters in NY on Monday that ports in government-controlled areas such as Aden, Mukalla and Mocha will be reopened, but demanded more rigorous checks at the Red Sea port of Hodeida. More than 2,000 Yemenis have died in a cholera outbreak now affecting almost one million people, AFP reported.

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