Coalition to Gradually Reopen Yemen's Seaports, Airports
Nov 14 2017 by Desiree Burns
The coalition has been targeting the Houthis since 2015, when they seized parts of Yemen including its capital Sana'a, obligating President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee and seek help from Saudi Arabia.
The UN's aid coordinator in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, said there was no time to wait for a new inspection system to be set up.
However, the port of Hodeidah on the western coast, where almost 80 percent of Yemen's food imports have gone through, is still closed.
Saudi Arabia and its allies tightened a longstanding blockade of Yemen's land, sea and air borders a week ago in response to a missile fired by the Iran-backed Huthis that was intercepted near Riyadh worldwide airport.
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The decision followed the interception of a missile launched towards the Saudi capital Riyadh, an act described by the alliance as a "dangerous escalation" by the Iran-allied Houthi militia - which controls large segments of Yemen.
Aden port, which is controlled by allies of Saudi Arabia, does not have the capacity, according to the United Nations, to handle the necessary volume of humanitarian cargo and would mean hazardous cross-line deliveries. However, Saudi Arabia demanded more rigorous checks at the Red Sea port of Hodeida, which is being controlled by the rebels.
"I don't think discussions (on new inspections) should hamper the port remaining open", he added. 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. 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.
Noting that there were three weeks of vaccines left in the country, McGoldrick said "humanitarian supplies are dangerously low".