Published: Tue, November 14, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Coalition to Gradually Reopen Yemen's Seaports, Airports

Coalition to Gradually Reopen Yemen's Seaports, Airports

"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.

The ambassador also said the Houthi-controlled ports, including Hodeida, should remain closed and he called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to send a delegation to Riyadh to "review current procedures to enhance and deliver a more robust verification and inspection mechanism aimed at facilitating the flow of humanitarian and commercial shipments while preventing the smuggling of weapons, ammunition, missile parts and cash".

Saudi placed the current blockade on Yemen a week ago, after Houthi rebels fired a missile at Riyadh.

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.

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Meanwhile, Minister of Local Administration, Abdul Raqeeb Fateh said that the Yemeni government welcomed the statement issued by Saudi Arabia's United Nations ambassador to reopen the seaports and airports of Yemen's liberated area in the next 24 hours. In a statement, Saudi's permanent United Nations representative said he confirms that "steps are being taken by the [Saudi-led] Coalition in full consultation and agreement with the Government of Yemen, to start the process of reopening airports and seaports in Yemen to allow for the safe transfer of humanitarian actors and humanitarian and commercial shipments". Humanitarian agencies had been successful in preventing starvation and tackling a cholera outbreak that has sickened more than 900,000 people in six months and killed over 2,200.

The blockade "is complicating what is already a catastrophic situation", McGoldrick said. "The humanitarians are just holding things together, waiting for a peace process which is very much in the distance".

"The humanitarian impact of what is happening here right now is unimaginable", Mr. McGoldrick told reporters.

The north of the country has 20 days' stocks of diesel and 10 days' stocks of gasoline, McGoldrick said.

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