Saturday, 25 November, 2017

Coalition to Gradually Reopen Yemen's Seaports, Airports

UN says Saudi's closure of Yemen's seaports undoes progress in fight against famine and cholera Coalition to Gradually Reopen Yemen's Seaports, Airports
Melinda Barton | 14 November, 2017, 18:53

The Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen's Houthi movement said last week it had closed all air, land and seaports in Yemen to stem what it said was the flow of arms to the Houthis.

On November 4 Saudi Arabia said it intercepted north or Riyadh is said was sacked from Yemen - blaming Iran for the incident, Saudi authorities accused Iran of "declaring war" on their country. The missile was intercepted near the capital of the country.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia said it would begin opening airports and seaports, but that has not happened yet. The humanitarian situation in the war-ravaged Yemen is now one of the deadliest in the world as starvation and lack of medical supplies leave millions at risk - the Saudi blockade of Yemen has added to the country's woes.

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.

"We would ask that the coalition opens all the seaports as a matter of emergency and allows humanitarian and other supplies to move as well as aid workers", UN Yemen Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Jamie McGoldrick told reporters in Geneva by phone from Amman.

Although Iran denies backing the Houthi rebels, the Saudi-led coalition said it will continue to keep the seaport closed until the United Nations comes up with a program that ensures weapons intended for the Houthis do not make it into the country.

Air traffic in Sanaa's airport is now restricted to flights carrying humanitarian aid sent by the United Nations and other worldwide organisations.

"The humanitarian impact of what is happening right now is unimaginable", he said.

"I don't think discussions (on new inspections) should hamper the port remaining open", he added. He underscored that a United Nations verification and inspection mechanism is already in place and could work with the Saudi-led coalition on implementing strict procedure but Saudia has to open the port.

Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to push back the Houthi rebels who control the capital Sanaa, and restore the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to power.